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With April 2nd fast approaching, I am being assaulted left and right with “Autism Awareness Day” and “Light it up Blue” propaganda. Now don’t get me wrong, we have a blue light bulb on the porch, but that stays on year round. There are two reasons for the light staying on. The first is that there is a spider that has taken up residence in the bulb and he and I have an understanding that I won’t disturb his home if he doesn’t disturb mine. Secondly, and this is the important one, it serves as a reminder to those coming to our house that in our home we do Autism awareness Every. Single. Day.
In our house, Autism doesn’t work Easter Bunny hours. Autism doesn’t work its tail off for one day out of the year, loading children up with sugar before hopping off into the sunset, and then taking the next 364 days off. We do Autism Every. Single. Day.
I am a bit perplexed as to why we need an Autism Awareness day in 2013. Isn’t everyone aware of Autism? With the current rate of diagnosis I find it hard to believe that someone could not know someone directly affected by Autism. There is plenty of awareness of Autism; what is lacking is acceptance. We need acceptance Every. Single. Day.
We need strangers to accept that our children may make loud, unpredictable sounds in the store. We need others to accept that a stimming child may accidentally bump into them while walking. We need our friends and extended family to accept that sometimes we are just too tired to hang out, but we would still like the invite. We need the world to accept that there is no one size fits all treatment plan for a person with Autism, but we are working on helping our child Every. Single. Day.
I am not trying to dissuade you from celebrating April 2nd, but I am inviting you to celebrate Autism on April 7th, and September 29, and November 8th, and the other 361 days out of the year. While you are celebrating, work on spreading acceptance Ever. Single. Day.
Miranda is a Navy wife and mother to three kids: Hailey, Josie and Teague. All three have a swallowing disorder, Teague has ASD and Josie has Chiari. Miranda is the VP of Community Outreach for the Military Special Needs Network. You can contact her at MirandaFort@MilitarySpecialNeedsNetwork.com
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