We need acceptance not just awareness….

I write this because it has been bothering me that people keep focusing on raising awareness for Autism.  Now although I don’t think the latest numbers are near accurate (survey 11 states and a few counties in them and call it done doesn’t sit well with me and I not even American) I gotta say if people are really going to be sticking their heads in the sand so much they shouldn’t be speaking to the masses.  Autism rates they claim are 1-68 – do you not think that people are more than aware Autism exists I mean one would have to live under a rock to not hear about it or see it around them.  But the biggest problem is acceptance of all those on the spectrum.

I have never been a “with the grain” kind of person it’s just who I am.  If there is something I feel strongly about I will stand up for it and speak out until I am heard..  I strongly believe that all these people saying “light it up Blue for Autism awareness” or “color the world for Autism awareness” etc are seriously off their mark.  Good or bad Autism Speaks has put Autism out there, celebs have done the same, as have the numbers and the news and all of us.  We need to shift to being out there away from the screen and raising acceptance so our kids can stop being tormented, so they can grow up being accepted and respected.  It’s really time to get people’s heads out of the sand and realize that it’s just time for all of us on the spectrum to be accepted.

As an adult I see how little other adults accept my own diagnosis never mind my kiddos.  They think it is like the plague or something and really at times I get treated pretty bad, even by other parents that have kids on the spectrum (boy are they going to be in for a rude awakening when their kid grows up if we don’t get more acceptance going).

Sure people mean well when they post all the acceptance things – but for one it’s FB there is A LOT of awareness and we are all sharing these awareness things on our pages – Autism pages – most of the people that like our pages are other Autism parents and people that are touched by Autism somehow – now not all of them are but most.  What we need to be doing is talking to our neighbors, community leaders, getting out there in the community and spreading acceptance and awareness.  Sitting behind our screens is all good and fine BUT if you TRULY want to make an impact go out there find others in your community and go for it – spread the acceptance and awareness.  Hand out information at a booth at local baseball/soccer game, wear a shirt that you make at home saying Ask Me About Autism! or do anything that people will notice around you.  Your kids live in the community so why not educate people and get some acceptance – might even meet some others that are also apart of the Autism team somehow and they might be happy to join you in spreading more acceptance around.  Even go to your kids school/class and educate them on what Autism is – find some age appropriate material and share it with other kids.  It starts with you…you are the only one that can start to make the change you want to see in the world and these are the first steps.Image

 

There comes a time when you have to make those tough decisions…

In the words of one of the most influential people in history “In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends” Martin Luther King Jr.

It’s true – words hurt, A LOT but coming from enemies you kind of expect them to hurt.  But I think what hurts more is the lack of support from those you considered friends.  The fact that those that should understand the most don’t seem to.  Those things will stay imprinted in your brain for many many years if not a lifetime.

We all struggle sometimes, we can all use a helping hand sometimes so we turn to our friends, the people that we share our tough times with, things we don’t share with just anyone.  But what happens when they don’t step up to be there?  How many times can you honestly let it happen before it’s just beyond enough.

Somehow I find the most judgmental people out there are other special needs parents.  Now this is by NO MEANS a one size fits all generalization…but it’s true.  But what does that say for the community as a whole?  We strive for acceptance, awareness and we want people to join us in our cause.  But if we cannot work as a collective unit then what chance do we have of getting people to believe we really want these things?

When you are advocating on a grand scale you have to watch how you treat other parents/adults fighting with you for acceptance from others.  It’s hard I know sometimes – to step back and remind yourself that if the roles were reversed how would you react?  How would you want people to treat you?  If this was your child – would you stand for what you are about to say being said to them?  Does it make it ok if it is an adult you are saying it to instead?  Is it helpful?, is it nice?, will it hurt them?…if you answer these things and you answer them and it will hurt them and it’s not helpful – so therefore it is not nice – don’t say it.  Find a better way to phrase it so that it is helpful and no one has to get upset and friends don’t become enemies.

It’s not always so much about what you say but how you say it…but on the internet it’s ALL about what you type (say)…because the words on a screen are all open to interpretation by the person reading it you are sort of at their mercy.  If they are having a bad day, are upset or mad at something/someone – your words are likely going to be taken out of context and it’s not that anyone means any harm per se but it sure can cause a huge dived amongst people.

I know how hard it is sometimes for us to see that what we need out here is more acceptance than awareness. I think people are more than aware of Autism…but what we need is more people being able to accept it and learn a bit more about it, being ok with it and realizing it isn’t going away. So either accept it or don’t but that isn’t going to make it disappear.

Energy needs to be on accepting things like Autism, ADHD…any and all mental/physical issues/disabilities. Wheelchair or not people can suffer dearly on the inside…

We as a community fighting for our kids/ourselves and our struggles need to be more accepting of each other first and foremost, without that we mise well not even bother asking the general population to accept us/our kids. I have come to find that harshest critics can be other special needs parents…”oh my kid is worse than yours you can’t possibly understand” “oh my kid is so high functioning you would never know they are rocking it” “oh low functioning/Classic Autism (hate the term) kids have harder struggles than high functioning (Aspie) kids do”. Or the “you are an adult now you shouldn’t have these issues”. Or asking for understanding and patience when you are going through a hard time as an Aspie (for that matter anyone having a hard time) and it seems as though the judging and accusations fly. There is this funny hiccup in things, we all want acceptance, support, understanding for our kids – right – but what happens to the teens and adults? Are they not important as well? Should we not be accepting of ALL people with intellectual, physical and medical challenges? If we cannot accomplish this first – we have no hope of getting the hundreds of thousands of others on board with supporting and accepting us either. We need to judge each other and our situations less and work towards the goal we all want… acceptance.