Give Ascendigo a chance to make a difference
I am writing in support of Ascendigo’s proposed educational development in Missouri Heights. I was born and raised in the Roaring Fork Valley and have always considered it a compassionate space. I am incredibly saddened and disappointed by the way some community members have responded.
I read comments stating this development would not be child-friendly or cyclist/hiker-friendly. These individuals are blind to their privilege, as most of the world is not very autism-friendly. Individuals on the spectrum consistently mask who they are every day to live up to a neurotypical society that refuses to make room for them. People on the spectrum deserve inclusion; they deserve a space where they can be themselves.
I have worked and volunteered with children and young adults with severe autism for many years now. I began my volunteerism at Ascendigo’s summer camp and had the privilege to also work in their life-enrichment team. To hear people say that this development would disrupt the calmness of Missouri Heights was disheartening. People with autism are routinely subjected to negative stereotypes. Ascendigo’s education center would be beneficial not only to the Autism community but to the valley residents. It would allow them to learn and educate themselves about autism and, in the process, create a place of understanding.
There is no other place that offers the support, services and experiences for the autism community in the way Ascendigo does. Equitable and inclusive spaces such as this proposed development are rare. We cannot minimize the struggles and challenges individuals on the spectrum and their families face. Ascendigo is willing and able to provide an environment dedicated to this underrepresented community; they are willing to support, respect and value those on the spectrum. To turn Ascendigo down would be a disservice to our community.
I encourage the community to bear in mind the needs of others and not only what we need immediately. Ascendigo can make a difference. Let’s support them in creating something impactful for those on the spectrum and their families.
Karla Ruiz Cravioto