As we are seeing April’s Autism Awareness month come to an end I wanted to share my thoughts about the value of Autism Awareness month. Autism Awareness month isn’t necessarily for us who are dealing with autism day to day. It’s, in my mind, more for the people who are unfamiliar with autism, and for those who will in the future, have children or family members diagnosed with autism. Although, it’s nice for our families who are dealing with autism too. I loved all the articles and programs that were on about autism this month and it’s nice to see people really care about autism and some of the struggles and triumphs that we are dealing with.
I’m glad that there was more pieces this month on real families dealing with autism because we are not all like Max’s family from Parenthood or “Rainman” and his family. We are all different types of families and all people with autism are unique individuals and it was great to read a wide variety of people’s experiences and stories this month.
We need real awareness. Not just sympathy from people when they’re in their homes. We need to see this claimed compassion displayed in public when our children have meltdowns or other inappropriate behaviors. Autism never seems to cross people’s minds at these critical moments. They just see a defiant child and inadequate parents. When we get to the point where we can take our children in public without having to “grow thicker skin” or ignore all the stares, pointing, and whispers, then we will have achieved the true autism awareness that our families are looking for and deserve. I believe that Autism Awareness month is vital to the public’s growth as far as acceptance and compassion.
The only way I can think of to achieve this goal of true autism awareness is for our families to share, share, share our experiences with whoever will listen. Take our children in public and explain to people when it’s necessary why they may do what they’re doing. Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed of autism or the symptoms of it.
Technology provides a wonderful and convenient way to share your thoughts and experiences with autism. There are very strong and passionate opinions about many things in the autism community. It doesn’t take long browsing around the internet to find vicious words exchanged between people who have differing opinions. During this Autism Awareness month it has been refreshing to find more of a unity among the autism community. It would be great to see this increased harmony continue so we can achieve our ultimate goals instead of kind of chasing our tails with bickering.
I want people to understand and to realize, that this common quote: “Autism is not a tragedy, ignorance is the tragedy.” is the truth! The tragedy is that some of our families greatest challenges come from other people’s reactions to our children and not from autism itself.
Even though we are at the end of Autism Awareness month we have to keep bringing autism to the forefront of people’s minds. It’s the only way, short of everyone having a loved one with autism or they themselves having autism, to have our children get treated as the wonderful people they are. So scoop up some autism awareness and acceptance and give it to all your friends and tell them to pass it on.
Awareness is the key to acceptance.
So let the cat out of the bag, inform, expose, report, talk, unfold, give the low-down, affirm, proclaim, broadcast, tell, announce, communicate, utter, divulge, let slip, make known…your autism story.