Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Autism Acceptance Month

April is Autism Awareness Month. But it seems that Awareness isn’t enough. I don’t want to just make you guys aware of Autism. I want to encourage you guys to accept people with Autism. Okay, so do you guys even know about Autism, or what it is? Let me give you a link that gives a little summary here:

I didn't know about Autism until my freshman year of high school. That’s when I met my highschool sweetheart. We still keep in touch and he’s like a brother to me. He has Asperger’s Syndrome, which is a mild form of Autism. He’s taught me a lot, whether he knows it or not. His perspective on life is inspiring and I’m proud to call him my friend and brother. 

Not only did I become aware of Autism, I accepted it. Maybe I automatically accept people with disabilities because I have one (a disability, I mean, but not Autism), maybe it’s because I’ve been around people with disabilities when I started going to a private school for people with disabilities since the 6th grade, maybe it’s both. I don’t know. All I know is that everyone that has a disability has a potential to be successful in life and sometimes, they may even surprise you. 

There is a difference between awareness and acceptance. Let’s see, how can I explain this? People who are only aware of Autism would possibly know a few facts and get people to do this or that and say it’s for Autism. Truth is, sometimes they may think they know all about Autism but really, they may just know the basics. Acceptance is acknowledging the person, making time to actually get to know the person, not the disability. It means trying to understand the person. It does not mean trying to change the person.

I don’t claim to know everything about Autism, especially since I do not have Autism in the first place. I’m not around people with Autism 24/7, I’m not a sister of someone with Autism, and I’m not a caregiver (and I’m not a parent), so I’ll admit that maybe I don’t know the inner workings of someone with Autism on a daily basis. All I know is that when I met my brother/friend, I just wanted to accept him for who he is. Whenever I meet someone with a disability, I tend to see the person, not the disability. 

Awareness is easy, but acceptance takes quite a bit of work.

Until next time, God Bless. 
- Chloe