Military Special Needs Network

Proudly Supporting all Military Families with a Special Needs Dependent

Autism Acceptance vs Autism Awareness

186985221I think that everyone is familiar with April being Autism Awareness Month. Puzzle pieces everywhere and everyone lighting it up blue all in the name of Autism. I can guarantee that all of us parents who have a child on the spectrum are very aware of our child’s autism. We wear our puzzle piece jewelry, clothing and light our front porch up with blue lights all month long, making the outside world be “Aware” of the fact that Autism exists. But what good is it if people are just “Aware” but not educated about it. Or even accepting of people who have it? This is the difference between “Awareness” and “Acceptance”. You can be aware of something but yet either have no knowledge or interest in accepting that it as something. In order for acceptance, the need to educate is there.

This world has so much diversity holding it together. Every living thing is different. Similarities yes. But uniquely different. In order to accept that uniqueness you must learn about why something or someone is the way they are.

You can see from a bumper sticker of a colourful puzzle ribbon on someone’s car that they are personally connected to Autism. Or the child who is wildly flapping their arms in what looks to be excitement over something. Or that Adult that seems to not connect with someone or has a problem speaking their mind. You are aware of it, but do you accept that person? And how much do you know about Autism?

Sure we have people like Carly Fleischmann and Temple Grandin who have publically come out to tell their story of what it’s like to be a person living with Autism. And we have movies like “Rainman”, that at the time was a groundbreaking look into a disorder that most people knew nothing about. But that was just a portrayal. All these are fine examples of making the rest of the world Autism aware, but when is the world going to start accepting that it’s becoming an issue? When are people going to accept that more research has to be done? Why is it that more and more children are getting diagnosed?

Autism Acceptance encompasses a lot. Not just accepting a person for who they are. But every avenue. Exploring everything. Learning everything that needs to be taught. Things that have worked and things that haven’t. Being open minded to what other people have done. Just because something didn’t work for you, doesn’t mean it won’t work for someone else. Be accepting of the research that has been done already. I know people have their theories and they reasons. But it’s like everything, you need to be respectful and accept that others will have a different of opinions. That also goes with how someone parents their autistic child. Be accepting that their lifestyle is not the same as yours and that they are doing what is right according to their lifestyle. Acceptance has to start within our Community if we want the outside world to accept our children for who they are.

For those who are reading this as a way to educate, thank you. Thank you for taking the time to listen to our stories. Our journeys. Sometimes you can learn a lot by listening to a personal experience. We have so many different and diverse stories about our children. You may be aware that Autism exists, but do you have an understanding how they feel or what it’s like for a family member trying to help their loved one get through life?

There is a vast difference on being aware of something and accepting it. Autism isn’t something that goes away at the end of April. For all of those who live with it or have a family member, it’s all year round. Awareness is just one part of the equation. Acceptance is the other. And once people add those two things together, then maybe the world can move forward with educating it’s self on a disorder that is climbing fast in the number of people that have it.







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