Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Oops! Autism still exists beyond April. What happened during Autism Awareness Month?

Well, Autism Awareness Month may be over- but our job as Autism parents never ends.  And even though it is the end of Autism Awareness Month, it is certainly not the end of promoting Autism Acceptance. That is something to work on every day of the year.

Beautiful letter written by an autistic child
I usually do a post a day on Facebook about Autism. This year, between my school, Teenzilla's many endeavors and constant back and forth with The Boy's school- I did not meet that goal. Believe me, it is all about Autism awareness in my house- as it is in ANY autism household. And while a part of me felt like I missed a lot of opportunities, I know that I ceaselessly promote autism awareness and ACCEPTANCE on a daily basis. So I missed some status updates- the world goes on.

I just want everyone to understand and know, that while awareness is necessary, ACCEPTANCE is vital. And  just because the month of April is over doesn't mean the efforts to continue spreading awareness should stop.  “Autism Acceptance”  needs to be applied to every other month of the year. More than that, I want everyone out there to continue spreading just plain old ACCEPTANCE. As we move beyond this month let us all embrace what comes after awareness; acceptance, inclusion, respect and full lives for all of us regardless of our abilities or disabilities. 

Just because someone is "different" doesn't mean they don’t need and deserve to be accepted with open arms by members of their community. We all look, act, learn and behave differently but we should all be treated equally and be afforded the same opportunities

I think May should be dubbed "National Inclusion Month". Inclusion is such important concept when talking about acceptance because true inclusion involves interacting with, communicating with, teaching,  and accepting people. Not just because they’re different but because they’re the same.   Did that just blow your mind? We are all human.  There is no sane reason to exclude individuals with differences or their families. Don't we all deserve the same respect and to be included, despite any "differences"?

What I really, really want EVERYONE to remember  is just because the calendar changes to May- doesn't mean that all persons with autism disappear for another year. Nope. Kids and adults alike with varying forms of autism are still working, living, learning, loving  and existing EVERY SINGLE DAY OF THE YEAR!  

It  is great to have an entire month dedicated to the cause,  but autism will continue to affect the lives of families all year round.My challenge to you is to continue to advocate for awareness,education and ACCEPTANCE  of  ASD. The need for answers does not begin and end with the month of April.

So stay strong, keep advocating, and dammit- get a minute for yourself if you can Autie/Aspie parents  caregivers and teachers! We need a little downtime on occasion too. 

Don't forget, I am doing a giveaway on my Facebook page Red Vines and Red Wine- a GREAT book- How to talk to an Autistic Kid, written BY and autistic kid!!  It is wonderful and awesome and I can't wait to find out who the winner is!