As many of you know, April is observed as Autism Awareness Month in the United States. Through the years autism awareness has increased, but shouldn’t there be more? Aside from being aware of autism in general, maybe we should raise awareness of the downside of exposing ourselves to a world that is still not sure what to do with us.
Being surrounded by people who are merely aware of autism isn’t enough. Then again, being around people who are aware of autism may also be too much to bear. In some instances increased awareness drives an even larger wedge between those of us on the autism spectrum and others? Why, because the more knowledgeable people are of our differences, the higher the wall of stigma.
Autism Awareness in of itself does not guarantee that we will be considered viable members of society. Autism Awareness does not guarantee that our strengths and weaknesses will be included in the common fabric of humanity. Autism Awareness does not guarantee that we will have equal rights in opportunities for education, employment, and housing nor does autism awareness guarantee that we receive appropriate medical attention, even under the umbrella of whole person-centered care.
So why is it so difficult to be aware and accepting of autism? Maybe people don’t know how to accept autism. It’s not rocket science. Autism acceptance is taking the time to get to know us as individuals, recognizing our strengths and challenges, and being thoughtful in diversifying problem-solving; systematically removing barriers to promote seamless inclusion. With acceptance, adaption to differences in ability would become second nature.
There is no shame, disgrace or dishonor in having an autism spectrum disorder. Such notions tend to motivate parents to lean towards highly questionable treatments and therapies, a sort of fools gold encapsulated in hope-filled attempts to “cure” autism.
There is no cure for autism.
Amidst the infinite listings of traits and ubiquitous connotations, one fact still links us together…we are all human. Can that be enough?
This year, let us not only look to ways of raising autism awareness but let us also be part of the push to increase autism education and ACCEPTANCE.
Organization: The Pilgrimage: Autism's Love
email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook: Autism's Love: The Pilgramage