Autism Acceptance

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Today is what they call “Autism Awareness Day” and it’s world Autism Awareness Month. Blech. I mean, it’s fine and all that, but here are some of my unsolicited thoughts (so feel free to move long, move along, if you don’t want to know).

autism awareness day is autism acceptance and autism appreciation everyday

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I used to think it was all cute and fun to have an “autism” day or month, and I do appreciate the extra consciousness that comes out of the month, so don’t get me wrong; it’s just that living with it for so long, it’s not a “day” for us. It’s not a week, not a month, not a year; it’s a lifetime.

I used to think this would go away, that he’d outgrow it. You go through the stages of grief as a parent of a child with a disability: denial, guilt, anger, depression, acceptance.

Oh, but you don’t go through those stages once; it’s every. Freaking. Milestone. Every time the other little ones are talking. Every time they other kids get invited to birthday parties. Every time you get a call from the principal saying your kid threw a book at someone’s head. When others are dating and getting jobs and getting married and having kids; all things you may or may not get to see.

When you do hit the “acceptance” stage of grief, you realize that it’s all good! Man, he’s a cool guy! He’s a cool guy BECAUSE of his autism, not in SPITE of it! Yes, it brings extra challenges, yes, he has to work harder in some ways (and I know that bums him out sometimes), but really, he’s going to contribute something special to the world around him that would not have been possible without that being a part of who he is. I like him. And not just because I gave birth to him; I think he’s awesome. So, autism simply IS. And I accept the whole kitten-kaboodle; the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I guess my point is this. I do appreciate and like the direction of being more inclusive and understanding of ALL persons, of difference races and beliefs, different abilities, different backgrounds. I think we’re moving in the right direction. We do still have a long way to go, so while I don’t fault “Autism Awareness Day,” I do want to stand up and say, “Everyday is autism day.”

I asked my boy (now 24) what he thought about autism now that he’s an adult (we HAVE had these conversations before, mind you, but it was apropos today). This is what he said:


Sometimes people don’t understand me, that I’m different. My strengths are that I’m focused, reserved, don’t get carried away in conversations. My weaknesses are that it’s hard to express my thoughts clearly, and getting along with others is sometimes hard. I think in the workplace, it’s especially hard. They expect the same amount of work output despite the mental health challenges we face.

I’m just waiting for the day where we can be accepted for who we are and the challenges we face.


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Hi! I'm Audra!

I am a special education teacher, behavior analyst, and parent to an autistic adult. I love sharing the insights and resources I have gleaned over the past 25 years. Thanks for being here!

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