Awareness is not enough.
We (The Autism Community) need for you to know what Autism is.
We can only achieve that through Autism Understanding and Acceptance.
Awareness of autism has risen dramatically in the past few years, and awareness is certainly a good place to start. Increased awareness has helped parents get earlier diagnoses for their children, and it has helped secure funding for research. However, it hasn’t done much to change public perception of what autism really is.
This is a call out to the world to understand the people and the disorder.
This is a call out to the world to accept the people and the disorder.
You can not understand or accept the people until you understand and accept the Autism they have.
Autism is a part of who they are.
The media has focused almost entirely on children with autism – but children grow up. In a society where one in 110 children is diagnosed with autism (the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control), no one can afford to ignore the significance of this disability. People with autism are children, teenagers, adults, men, women, scientists, programmers, engineers, unemployed, in care homes … too many of them continue to be bullied, to be judged, or to just be ignored.
Each person is unique. Each person has their own unique set of strengths and weaknesses just like you or I.
The charities, the organizations, the groups, the parents, the people with Autism themselves… we ask you… no, we need you to know what Autism really is.
Today, we ask for your Autism Understanding and Acceptance.
This is what Autism is to me…
Autism, to me, is a part of who my child is… for better or worse, beautiful or ugly. Yes it causes extreme temper tantrums, misunderstandings, dietary issues and more… but it also shows me a side of life that I would have never seen before otherwise. A whole new profound way of looking at the world.
Autism makes it very hard for my child to know what other people may be thinking… a look on their face and body language aren’t enough. Autism also makes it very hard for my child to understand the concept of time. To tell me about a year ago, he refers to it as “a lot yesterday”.
It’s because of Autism that my son will kick and throw things as he enters a rage filled meltdown that is completely beyond his control.
Probably what hurts most, however, is the looks and comments and judgments that others make while we’re in public. Whether it be a meltdown at a grocery store or even a physical activity where my son clearly isn’t as “in control” as the other children. Being different, to most people, is a negative thing.
It’s for this reason, that Autism to me, has become my purpose. Actually, my son (both of my boys to be honest) are more important than Autism itself, but they’ve given me my purpose in life… to not just raise awareness of Autism but to try to help others to understand it better and to accept those that have it.
Perhaps if I can reach enough people, those looks and comments and judgments will begin to go away. If I can reach people in my own community, I can help people accept my child.. if I can reach people around the world.. I can help many children.
And not just children… but teenagers in high school that are being bullied or even beaten… and adults too that may still be living with their parents or at the very least, struggling at keeping jobs and a social life.
Since my son has been born, and more so, since we’ve received his diagnosis, I’ve learned so very much about Autism and yet I still have far far more to learn.
And this is my meaning in life… this is my purpose.
Not to change my child because my child is wonderful, amazing and every bit as deserving of a everything that you and I have as we are.
My purpose is to change the world around him… by talking to anyone that will listen. By giving them just a little bit more understanding… and hopefully, helping them to accept my son and everyone else with Autism.
That’s what Autism is to me.