The Truth About ‘Autism Awareness’


“Autism” is quite the buzzword.

We have our own month.

Our own day.

Walks and runs and lightbulbs.

I struggle with the gimmicky nature of it all.

I also benefit from it.

So does my boy.

There are a million diagnoses in our world.

We could be living with any one of those.

We could be wishing that everyone or someone or anyone knew or understood our struggles on any level.

We could be voiceless.

But because so many have gone before us, our path is already a path.

Our voices are heard.

Our struggles and triumphs are televised and memorialized in blogs and documentaries and T-shirts and banners.

While we may choose to forge new paths or we may look to different voices to advocate for us, gratitude for those who first began awareness campaigns is paramount.

Be grateful.

That doesn’t mean you can’t make your own way.

But be grateful that when we say, “He is autistic,” people have heard the word.

That neighbors have YouTubed Temple Grandin.

That teachers have researched for IEPs.

That therapists have created sensory equipment and mothers have blogged curriculum and doctors have studied causes and correlations.

Be grateful that we are not invisible.

As we begin the month of blowing up Facebook newsfeeds and mailboxes campaigning for our loved ones, be gracious.

Remember those who still have no advocates.

Remember that no advocacy is ever perfect.

Remember that no parent or child or teacher or therapist is ever 100 percent right or 100 percent wrong.

Remember that we are doing this not to be superior or to demand respect or to get “more.”

If we are doing it for the right reason, we are doing it for him.

And for others like him.

We are doing it to say,

“He’s here.

He’s loved.

He’s worthy.

And we want you to know.”

That, my friends, is autism awareness.

That, my friends, is the point of sharing.

And I am grateful for the opportunity.

Happy April.

Joy

This post originally appeared on Letters from a Spectrum Mom.

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