By local parents and Boston Moms Guest Authors, Doug Flutie and Laurie Flutie
Two and a half decades ago, when we embarked on this journey with the Flutie Foundation, the word “autism” cast a shadow of uncertainty over our lives. It was a word that carried weight and complexity, a word that left us feeling like we were navigating uncharted waters. Back then, autism was a big and scary word. We were determined to rewrite that story, showing the world that autism isn’t something to be feared, but rather embraced – a lesson we’ve learned through the incredible journey with our son, Doug Flutie Jr.
Today, as we stand on the threshold of our 25th Anniversary, that word has transformed into a beacon of hope, acceptance, and progress. We are overwhelmed with gratitude for the collective efforts and unwavering support that have propelled us forward. Together, we have accomplished more than we could have ever imagined – from raising awareness and advocating for acceptance to embracing the entirety of the autism spectrum. And what better way to celebrate these achievements than with the upcoming STARS of the Spectrum 25th Anniversary Celebration, a musical showcase that embodies the heart and soul of our mission, at none other than the iconic Fenway Park on August 24, 2023.
Let’s pause for a moment and truly grasp what real inclusion means within the autism community. It’s not just a catchy buzzword; it’s the North Star that has guided us through this incredible journey. It’s what our son Dougie has taught us and thousands of others. Inclusion is all about recognizing and honoring the unique strengths and perspectives of individuals on the autism spectrum, ensuring they have the opportunities and support they need to flourish.
And that’s where this musical celebration comes in – it’s the culmination of our commitment to genuine inclusion. It’s not just a stage for performers; it’s a platform where self-advocates with autism step into the spotlight of Fenway Park, basking in its brilliant lights, and showcasing their extraordinary talents. It’s a celebration of their achievements, a testament to the boundless potential that resides within each individual, a potential that isn’t confined by autism but often times, enriched by it.
Across these years, we’ve witnessed the transformative power of inclusion firsthand. People with autism have shattered stereotypes and exceeded expectations in realms ranging from sports to arts, from education to employment. Their triumphs stand as undeniable proof that embracing autism isn’t just morally right; it’s a force that invigorates our communities, fuels innovation, and fosters empathy.
So, as we gear up for this remarkable event, let’s take a moment to look back at the incredible journey we’ve shared, with Dougie leading the way, and the countless lives we’ve touched. Let’s raise a toast to the progress we’ve made in dispelling the myths surrounding autism. Let’s give a high-five to those awesome self-advocates who’ve rewritten the rules, proving time and again that autism doesn’t have to hold you back from rocking it in life
And now, it’s your turn – join us at the STARS of the Spectrum 25th Anniversary Celebration. Let’s fill Fenway Park with harmonious melodies, contagious laughter, and an undeniable spirit of celebration. Let’s stand united in our pledge to authentic inclusion and keep forging ahead, creating a world where every individual is welcomed, embraced, and empowered to shine.
With heartfelt appreciation for your steadfast support, thank you for being the driving force behind these 25 years of impactful change. As we gather under the night sky, let’s illuminate it with the talents of those on the entirety of the autism spectrum lighting the way to a future that’s even brighter and more inclusive.