Autism Awareness Month

Autism Awareness Month

April is Autism Awareness month and April 2 being World Autism Awareness Day.

However, in my home every day is autism awareness day. I see, breathe, hear and speak Autism 365 days of the year and this month is no different! What’s the big deal about April 2? Why this customary post? A typical ‘Blogger’ you’d say! I write because it’s a cause dear to my heart and I write because I have a huge motivation behind it. That motivation is – my BUTTERCUP, my 5-year-old daughter with Autism. I write because I see spreading awareness as the only chance the incredible ASD population has at receiving the respect and acceptance they deserve.

But what motivates you to read this lengthy post? Maybe you too have a dear one with Autism or you don’t, but you want to know and help. Because you believe that there’s more to life than just making money. School grades, well-paying jobs, profitable businesses are important, but there are other things even more important …. Kindness and Compassion. No one is going to remember you for your CAT score or your High Net Worth, but they’ll remember you if you impacted their lives with thoughtfulness and warmth. It may not be your child, but it is one in every 50 children, so it IS your cousin’s or neighbour’s or friend’s child, your son’s schoolmate, the girl in your daughter’s art class.

What could be done to make the world a more comfortable and nurturing place for them? How are we going to make sure that those who can’t speak have a voice? And assure their parents not to worry about bullying or exploitation when sending them out each day? How are we going to make sure the ones who can’t make eye contact can face a job interview? And the ones who don’t have social skills have someone to play with on a weekend?

What can you do to show your support & to show that you care?

  • The best thing you can do to celebrate this month is to learn about Autism. Education is the best route to take to acceptance. People need to know, not just that autism exists but also what it is. What it’s like. What kind of challenges those on the spectrum face. What kind of abilities they may possess.
  • Next best thing to do is educate – as a parent/ teacher, educate your kids about Autism. There are interesting online resources available like Sesame Street (kid’s show) has a character named “Julia” who has autism.   I recommend showing your kids some of its episodes like the one where Elmo helps a friend learn how to be friends with Julia.  
  • If your child has a classmate with autism, invite them over for a play date or ask the family over for a cup of coffee.
  • Some schools have a buddy system where a neurotypical kid teams up with an autistic kid to help him catch up with studies. Encourage your kids to volunteer for such initiatives.
  • When at a public place you notice a child with Autism (tip-toe walking, hand flapping, echolalia, shrieking or having a meltdown) please be willing to understand and not judge. Replace the whispers & stares with a warm smile or greeting. Just a simple friendly interaction could go a long way for that ASD individual, or their parent.
  • If you are a hair stylist, a doctor, a bus driver, a store owner or you work in an environment that can be overwhelming for people with autism, find out how you can make visiting your place of work easier for autism families. Train your staff on diversity & inclusion.
  • If you know an adult or a colleague with autism who can’t drive, offer them a ride this month.
  • Autistic kids have no sense of fear, and therefore they often have escaping and elopement tendencies. If you notice a lost child, look after him and do the needful as a responsible citizen.
  • Consider making a donation to a Special Education school/ institute or an Autism research website.

 

They say it takes a village to raise a child, and I am learning this first-hand. The whole autism community would be on board with me on this one thing, that No one of us can do this by ourselves. We need you, the community, to support us.

I’m not suggesting you go overboard celebrating Autism Awareness month but I do want you to know that when you step out wearing a Blue t-shirt, or put a Autism awareness sticker on your car or light a blue bulb in your porch or post something on Facebook about Autism Awareness Day or share an Autism blog with your friends or have an Autism talk with your kid … you are adding to the conversation. A conversation that we desperately need to keep going, a conversation that would build that ‘Village’ one day. An understanding, empathetic village which doesn’t mind taking an extra step to make sure that the little kids like mine don’t have to run this arduous journey on their own.



4 thoughts on “Autism Awareness Month”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *