April. Autism “awareness” month. We like to call it Autism be-wareness month in our house, because it really does feel like all the awareness messages are just about telling everyone how bad autism is. We just don’t think that is what is needed, to be honest. So here are 5 things about my Autistic kids I think you should be aware of:
1. My kids are not sick, broken, tragic, contagious or burdensome.
Autism is not an illness, defect, tragedy, epidemic or burden.
Autism is a variation in the way a persons brain works that has a genetic basis. My kids process emotional, social and environmental information differently than non Autistic kids and this can be disabling for them. This is not inherently bad or negative.
2. There is nothing wrong with my kids.
Yes, they have some significant challenges navigating a world that is designed for people who are not Autistic, but that does not make them wrong.
3. My kids do not need to be changed or fixed.
They do not “fit in” and that is OK. The do not need to appear normal to be accepted or valued. They are Autistic, will always be Autistic and should never be expected to appear anything different.
4. My kids are individuals.
They are not like all other Autistic kids.
Just like non Autistic people, Autistic people have a variety of interests, strengths and challenges. Just because they are Autistic does not mean you can assume they like horses, are drawn to water, spend lots of time lining things up or have no empathy. Stereotypes are just as misleading when applied to Autistic people as when applied to anyone.
5. My kids do not give me a hard time because they are Autistic.
Being a parent is tough going, no matter who your child is. When my kids are struggling with something they are not doing it to inconvenience me- they are the ones having a tough experience. It is up to me to support them the best I can, with compassion and graciousness.
This article has been translated into Russian on the Neurodiversity in Russia website. To read >> click here << (link will open in a new window)