This post was originally published as part of our autism awareness month writings in 2012 but I think it speaks to a visceral and personal explanation of why and how autism awareness is a part of our family.
I would love to hear your family stories in the comments!
30 Days of Autism – Autism Awareness Month, Cafe Style
Autism Awareness … 30 Days of Autism … these are meant to be what? Catchphrases to help us understand the world of autism a bit better? A way to help raise funding for autism research? A chance to pin blue ribbons or puzzled ribbons around and tell the world how much they need to be aware of Autism?
Or maybe, it’s about something a little more.
I think that’s it.
I think it’s about more than ribbons, or blue-colored lightbulbs (thought they do look cool).
I think it’s about more than any one organization, one blog, one writer, one mom, one person or entity. Because there is a bigger stake here than whether or not you know what autism is, whether you care, and whether you want to spread the word.
It’s called respect. Understanding. Empathy. It’s about realizing that no one picture, person, site or organization can ever encompass what autism means to all the individuals affected. To all the families affected. And I don’t think Autism Awareness is overrated, but it is more complex than most will understand.
The face of autism is a varied one. It’s not just about the kids you see in a sweet picture (though I’ll share a few great ones with you!) and it isn’t just about the adults who mesmerize us (Temple Grandin anyone?), and it isn’t just about the ones in between, struggling to come to terms with a diagnosis that defines their world, but not themselves, completely.
Today, my post will be a bit long, because I want to introduce you to three very different faces of autism in our house. I’ll leave my husband’s story for him to tell another day.