I re-read the post I had written last year this time; April 30th; the last day of Autism Awareness month. I was curious to see if or how my thinking had changed since then.
Basically, nothing has changed. The same thing I wished for last year, is the same thing I wish for this year so I’ll give it to you again. I bolded the part that I feel particularly strongly about.
My hope with awareness is not that people will know that Autism exists. My hope is that people will learn something about it. I hope that people will ask smart questions. I hope that people will reach out and offer help to someone who needs it. I hope that people will see that even though it does come with challenges (for some more than others), people with autism are not people to be afraid of. I hope that people will feel less uncomfortable being around our stimmies. I hope that by learning the varied effects that autism has, people will be less judgmental and more caring. I hope that by getting to actually know someone with autism, people will see that there’s much more to our children than their disabilities or delays or silence or outbursts or obsessions or anxiety. I hope that people will feel compelled to donate to autism related charities so they can keep doing research and so they can help families – like mine. I hope that people will teach their children about compassion and will encourage them to reach out to a kid who seems to be struggling or looks like he needs a friend. I hope that my son will grow up in a world where he is valued as an important member of the society and not seen as “weird” or “stupid” or “retarded”.
I took a big step this month in opening up my blog and my life to anyone who cares to read about it. It was very scary and I had a few nights of not sleeping well after I hit “enter”. I thought back on all the things I had written before and wondered if there was anything that I should take down. I did edit one post slightly. Don’t worry, it wasn’t any of the ones that make me look bad. Those are still all there.
Seriously though, I believe that while having blue nails is cool, the single biggest thing I can personally do to raise awareness and de-mystify autism is to be truthful about what it’s like for real people. Nothing has ever changed because people were silent about it. The response has been all positive and I really appreciate everyone who took the time to let me know that reading my blog has helped them to understand autism better.