This week is world autism acceptance week, and I came across a quote that summed up for me the daily challenge children and adults on the autism spectrum face to achieve equality and acceptance:
"Autism is not a choice, but acceptance is."
There is no cure for autism and in fact some might be offended by that phrase as it’s not an illness it’s just a different way of perceiving our world. However, as a parent I have to accept that my children have needs that have to be addressed by professional assistance. Areas such as anxiety, speech and language and dietary, amongst the many others that you are probably thinking of in relation to your own child.
Let’s face it, the flags for autism are so wide that no child is the same and their needs are as diverse as the spectrum itself.
I want both my boys who are autistic to grow and thrive in the world they experience but for that to happen they need help and support not just from me but in the wider community.
The only way this will be achieved is through autism acceptance. I passionately believe that the road to understanding and greater acceptance is increased education about autism and the challenges it presents.
There are also two keyways to achieve this so that we can all make a difference for our children.Don't be alone connect with others
The first is to connect with other parents and create autism support groups or create one yourself.
That is why my wife and I created Autismdad.ie and the social media that accompanies it.
Autismdad (@Autismdad67) / Twitter on Twitter and the Facebook page
I’d urge you all to connect with these so we can all work together to spread awareness and acceptance. We always follow back and if i haven't give me a shout to rectify that.As a parent who has just had their child diagnosed education is critical. So If you don’t know someone else with an Autistic child or who has Autism themselves, seek out local groups and learn as much as you can. Awareness and understanding will help bring acceptance for your child and also ensure you can provide the best care you can for them.
Talking is good
I find the best way to generate awareness and help greater acceptance is just to talk about autism.
It is absolutely impossible to build awareness and acceptance if we keep our struggles to ourselves. This is also not healthy for you and your child as it can lead to anxiety and other issues. Talking about our day-to-day struggles, the small victories we achieve, and the strength and power of our children can be cathartic and help educate others.
The more we talk about autism, the more people will understand and accept it as a part of day to day life. More people will know how to act compassionately and how to respond when they interact with our children and adults on the spectrum.
One way in which I have tried to help others is through our podcast and if you haven’t listened already why don't you take time to hear about the experiences of two proud autism mums who share the diagenesis journey they went on with their children. You can listen here:https://anchor.fm/autismdadireland/episodes/Proud-Autism-mums-talk-with-me-about-their-childs-autism...
I’d urge you all in the weeks and months ahead to think about what you can do in your family, community and even workplace to help others understand:
- What autism is?
- What it means for our children?
- The impacts it has on our society.
- The help that we as a caring community need to give our children?
If we achieve this, we all help our children receive that acceptance they so richly deserve.