There is a side to awareness that can’t be captured in Photos.
It is the side that hurts, the LACK of awareness.
It is comments like “That child is just spoiled, there is nothing wrong with Him” or “If that was my child I would spank Him every day whether He did anything wrong or not, He would learn”. It is the judgmental stares in the grocery store as my child lays in the floor screaming because He wants to go home, or as he darts away from me and runs to the cereal Aisle for that coveted box of sugary cereal with his sisters hot on his heels trying to coax Him back to mom.
It’s Insurance companies saying that Autism is not a medical issue, but a mental health one so they wont cover a trip to the Neurologist, or an EEG.
It’s telling me I am a bad mother because He wanders away from home and finds himself in a construction site, drawn to those big, non toy versions of His trucks at home. ( it’ called elopement, and it terrifies me when he does this!)
It’s telling me that my son is autistic because ” You don’t love Him enough” or “oh it’s just bad parenting on your part”
It’s comments like “He doesn’t belong in this school, He is just not fitting in here, you will have to keep Him home until we can figure something out” ( ummm NO!)
It’s telling me that he belongs in an institution because he is going to ruin mine, my husband, and his sisters lives.
It’s telling me that you will watch my girls, but not the boy.
I could go on and on….I have heard it all. and it HURTS, it cuts deep to the Core, especially when it comes from people closest to me.
For families loving someone with Autism, awareness does NOT end on April 30th….or start on April 1st for that matter…it’s 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Autism is NOT the end of the world, it does NOT mean institutionalization. It does NOT mean the person is “stupid” or “retarded” ( and i HATE those words btw)
Don’t tell me things like “Oh he wont notice will he?” because he DOES notice!!! He can see when he gets treated different than His sisters. He KNOWS when you don’t bother to take the time to get to KNOW Him! The people who DO spend time with him, who see PAST the word Autism and see the BOY have discovered what I wish more could see, He is a loving, smart child who needs to be loved, needs to be shown he is just as special and important as his sisters are.
To quote Temple Grandin’s mother from the HBO Movie,
he is “Different, NOT Less“
In our house, my girls have coined a phrase “Normal is boring, we are ALL Different, weird is the new cool”
My Husband says “He is NOT Broke, He is just wired different”