Last year, I was pretty quiet about it.
Still being new to this world and not being sure what I should say. Or if I should say anything at all.
To be completely honest, a year later, I still wasn’t sure.
Much of how I felt in Why I’ve Been Quiet About Autism Awareness still holds true.
I’m sure that you’ve seen that quote “If you’ve met one child with Autism, you’ve met ONE child with Autism,” because of how diverse the spectrum is(it’s called a spectrum for a reason). And that quote is true. But because there are so many differences in our children who are on the spectrum, I think it ends up causing more rifts than unity with parents of autistic children. Frankly, there are some autism parents who scare the bejeezus out of me because they are so adamant about their views and I feel differently(or I am just learning, so I accidently mispeak, not meaning offense). I’ve been very clear that I Don’t Speak for the Trees.
Even with Autism Awareness Month, I’ve already seen bloggers talking about why they will or won’t participate, what it should really be called(Awareness, Acceptance, Equality), what organizations they’ll support or not, and on and on.
And it makes me want to put my hands over my ears and run away from the group, much like the kindergartener in my house does when he gets overstimulated by all the noise.
But, you see- Autism Awareness Month is about bringing awareness to the public about Autism. Simple as that. And while those of us who deal with autism on a daily basis might scoff and think I’m aware of it enough already, thankyouverymuch, and while the incidences of autism are growing by the year(last figure I saw was 1 in 50 school children and that rate is even higher in boys)- the truth is that many people don’t really understand it.
Which I totally get. Hell, I don’t understand it. But if you aren’t living with it in your house, you hear the term and you move on. But the reality is that with those autism statistics climbing, the chances are that you will be dealing with it in some way soon, if you aren’t already. Maybe not your child, but most likely a classmate or teammate of your child’s, or a relative- because it’s one in fifty kids.
I absolutely adore this post by Lisa of AutismWonderland over on Parents.com To The Max: Who World Autism Awareness Day Is Really For. She makes the point brilliantly. And it’s convinced me that this year, I shouldn’t be so quiet.
Because while what Autism looks like in my house and how we deal with it might not look anything like what another autistic family goes through, it’s still spreading awareness by sharing our story.
And sharing our stories is what can lead to not just awareness, but understanding and acceptance. Which is what I think we all want for all of our kids, whether they are on the spectrum or not.
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