Posted in Autism, Canada, Family, Internet, Parenting, Uncategorized

15 Things I’m Aware of on World Autism Awareness Day

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1. April is Autism Awareness Month.

2. April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day.

3. Today and all through April there will be more talk, more posts, more ads, more stuff sold, more people arguing about what caused Autism and still the numbers of children with Autism will rise.

4. For me everyday is Autism day. My son is brilliant, funny, clever, handsome, and amazing; he also happens to have Autism.

5. Children are being diagnosed with Autism in record numbers. Businesses, charities, celebrities, etc. are making record profits off the fears and vulnerabilities of parents.

6. Governments may say they’re aware and are doing a lot, but in truth, they just aren’t doing nearly enough.

7. Some parents hold mock funerals when their child is diagnosed with Autism. Is it just me or is that super creepy?

8. There are opautism13en doubters, closet doubters, haters, blamers, whiners, name-callers, bullies, accusers…the list goes on. None of that makes my child better.

9. The many voices for Autism, from whispers of hope to screams of anger to cries of despair can be heard throughout the world, not just today, but everyday.

10. There are plenty of theories and things people blame for Autism, yet to date, no single cause has been proven.

11. My child has Asperger’s Syndrome, he’s on the Autism Spectrum. He doesn’t need saving. He needs to be happy. Live up to his amazing potential. In that way, he’s the same as every other child.

12. Finding out my son had Autism didn’t change anything, I loved him just as much as ever.

13. Some people see my son as someone to be pitied, or mocked, or bullied, or judged, or labelled, or ignored. If some people took off their intolerance goggles they’d see who people really are.autism9

14. Autism used to terrify me, now I see that’s it’s different, not bad or scary or less, just different. Who ever said different was awful? Neurodiversity Now!!!

15. When something or someone is hurting our children we could easily be angry, sad, frustrated, depressed, look for reasons, excuses or someone to blame. Instead we need to focus on helping our children and finding the real cause.

So on this day and others, remember, Autism is just a word, the real story is in each child and who they really are.autism5

 

Posted in Autism, Uncategorized

Neurodiversity Now

1autism8Autism is isolating. Not just for those that have it, but for their loved ones. It’s not always obvious or deliberate, it’s just there. People get tired of hearing excuses why you’re not available or why your child acts a certain way. Many try to be patient, but it’s a long haul.

The most subtle one I’ve noticed is being excluded from parental chats about children. Your child has special needs, therefore any pregnancy, birth and child-rearing experiences became null and void. Most don’t want to hear your experiences, advice, or memories. I have to guess they don’t pertain to them or they don’t want to think they ever could.

My understanding is this is mostly true for parents with other special needs children as well.  I suppose that is why parents, grandparents, etc. of children with disabilities end up talking to each other, form groups, etc. because they have a better understanding of each others needs.

I suppose it’s a fear factor or a subconscious furrowed brow that says why would I, with my normal child want to hear about your child?  It’s rarely intentionally rude, but it’s as though somehow if I give advice their child will magically get Autism.

I’ve generally learnt to shut my mouth (a difficult feat for me). Though apparently I have to listen about how ‘perfect’ and ‘adorable’ their child is each time they eat, drink, walk, talk, smile, and burp.  I guess I feel the same way about my child.

Somehow, some people believe my child is less because of his Asperger’s Syndrome. And yes, I’ve had people ask me if I would rather have a ‘normal’ child, not many, but it’s happened.

I don’t like to put people into boxes. What is normal? My child is different, but never, ever less. I suppose similar protective feelings cause their ignorant reaction, but why not just accept neurodiversity and stop making painful distinctions?

The intent of more acceptance by opening the world through communications, travel, knowledge, etc. was a noble aim, but I’m afraid intolerance is still very powerful. I hope it’s just habit, not our nature.

People with special needs or differences, challenges seem to arouse two reactions in people: one, a caring or protecting instinct. This is ideal, but not as common as we would wish. I am always thankful for these people as they add so much to our world, and the world.

Then there is the second reaction that is not exclusive to special needs and seen way too often: predatory.  They bully, victimize, abuse, demean, demoralize and are generally maltreat those they consider weak. This is wrong on so many levels.bullying1

Why the polar opposites? Their differences are like the canary in the coal mine for character, you can tell a lot about a person by how they treat the most vulnerable members of a society. As it happens, those few sad apples don’t usually spoil the bunch.

Neurodiversity now.