Ignorance is the tragedy, not Autism

There is a wonderful quote I use often which I believe sums up a difficulty many parents with children on the autism spectrum face. It is this:

Autism is not a tragedy. Ignorance is the tragedy.

It is a tragedy for those who unfairly judge our children and it is a tragedy for our children who do not understand why strangers, peers, and even family can be unfair to them and treat them as naughty undisciplined kids.

We have all experienced this, our child is overstimulated or reacting to situations they do not understand with a meltdown or stimming. Strangers look disapprovingly thinking or even asking why we can't control our children.

Despite the rise in information sharing and publicity around autism, too many people are still unaware of the struggles our children and families face.  

I believe that ignorance can only be changed through education and that increasing autism awareness is an important step toward fostering inclusion and understanding for individuals on the autism spectrum.

I am also passionate in my conviction that as parents we need to help drive autism awareness forward. Because let's face it, if we don't who else will? 

I'd like to share with you some simple steps we can all take to help others become more aware of autism and the challenges it brings for our children and families.  

Here are some actions you can take to raise autism awareness:

Become an expert: Learn more about autism by reading books, articles, and reliable online sources. Then share this information with everyone you can. We are closest to the situation and best placed to educate others. 

Share accurate information: There is so much misinformation about autism online that sometimes this can work against autism awareness. It is important that we who walk the walk, raise awareness by sharing accurate and up-to-date information about autism on social media, personal blogs, or through community presentations. We must strive to correct misconceptions and address common stereotypes surrounding autism.

Organise awareness campaigns: Think about what you can do to plan and execute campaigns during Autism Awareness Month (April) or throughout the year. Develop campaigns that promote acceptance, inclusion, and understanding of individuals with autism. Utilise social media, flyers, and community events to reach a wider audience.

Educate and empower your child: Help your child be proud and confident of who they are. help them own their autism and communicate to others their strengths and abilities. You must never deny your child's autism as this helps nobody, certainly not the child. 

Advocate for inclusive policies: Do not be afraid to speak up and advocate for policies and practices that support individuals with autism. Raise awareness with local politicians, policymakers, legislators, and community leaders about the specific needs and challenges faced by individuals on the autism spectrum. Encourage the development of inclusive education, employment and access to healthcare.

Arrange awareness events: Organise workshops, conferences, or seminars on autism awareness in your community. Invite experts, individuals with autism, and their families to share their experiences, knowledge, and insights. Promote understanding and provide a platform for open dialogue.

Foster inclusive schools and workplaces: Advocate for inclusive practices in schools and workplaces. Why don't you start with your own? Encourage the implementation of supportive policies, training programs, and accommodations that promote equal opportunities and a nurturing environment for individuals with autism.

Participate in autism-related events: Attend or participate in local autism-related events, such as walks, runs, or fundraising activities. Show your support, engage in conversations and connect with others who are passionate about autism awareness.

Keep spreading awareness: Continue to raise autism awareness in your daily life. Share personal experiences, resources, and stories to educate others. Encourage empathy, kindness and acceptance toward individuals with autism in every interaction.

Remember, increasing autism awareness is an ongoing effort and small actions by us all can collectively make a significant impact.

Remember that when someone unfairly judges you or your child, that autism is not the tragedy. Ignorance is the tragedy.

Until we talk again, please keep spreading autism awareness.

Autism Dad Ireland