We are boys, we are girls, we are men and we are women. We are diagnosed, un-diagnosed and self-diagnosed. We are friends, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, employers, and employees. We are artists, genius, mechanics, cashiers, living in institutions, boarding schools, college and at home. We are being abused, bullied and outcast. We are being accepted and lifted up.
We are everywhere.
Some of us can speak and it feels like we won’t stop, some of us can speak but cannot get our words out, some of us cannot speak through the means that is comfortable for others, some of us speak through a song, dance, cry or scream. We are looking at you right now. We cannot be put in a box and we cannot give complete clarity to all of our differences. We find some comfort in our similarities. We have been here and will be here, more of us will get diagnosed and hopefully get the help we need to give us the best quality of life possible. Bringing awareness does not mean to just think about it for this day or month.
Bringing awareness could be a paradigm shift in the thinking of others.
Awareness according to Wikipedia:
“Awareness is the state or ability to perceive, to feel, or to be conscious of events, objects or sensory patterns. In this level of consciousness, sense-data can be confirmed by an observer without necessarily implying understanding. More broadly, it is the state or quality of being aware of something. In biological psychology, awareness is defined as a human’s or an animal’s perception and cognitive reaction to a condition or event.”
Awareness defined in the dictionary is:
“Awareness of, knowledge of, understanding of, appreciation of, recognition of, attention to, perception of, consciousness of, acquaintance with, enlightenment with, sensibility to, realization of, familiarity with, mindfulness of, cognizance of, sentience of The 1980s brought an awareness of green issues.”
As we go into this month of designated autism awareness, I think about what I would like people to have knowledge of, an ability to perceive, to feel, to be conscious of, when it comes to autism. Actually there is a lot I would like for people to be aware of but I guess if I am going to stay focused my main points would be for people to be aware of the fact that we are not all the same. Every person has their own unique qualities and hindrances. Though we may have many similarities, there are many differences as well. We each have our own personality and likes. Some may have the similar obsessions with fans or trains but some change their obsessions and often. Social situations can affect us all differently, we may be very social and then have anxiety later. We may be too anxious to go or do anything. We may not even think about it because the social situation involves our special interest.
Our sensory issues manifest in different ways.
Some of us are seekers, some of us are avoiders, some of us are a mix. Loud noises can tear through our body and jolt us into a panic, the sound of ice can feel like daggers in our ears, loud music can be comforting. Hot weather can drain us while for others it is energizing, cold weather can stop some of us from being able to move because it hurts our flesh so badly, while some of us can run around in the snow in shorts and think that it is great. There are so many differences between each one of us and that is something that needs to be made aware to the world. There are substantial differences between girls and boys and woman and men on the autism spectrum and I think that is something of importance to be aware of.
There are so many methods of treatment and I think having proper awareness of them is important as well.
There are many things that my mind wants to share but I cannot in a blog post. As I challenge myself to stay focused and make a clear point, I guess out of everything that I would want people to have awareness of when it comes to autism, is acceptance. I would long to see people accept our differences and be aware of them. I would want people to accept our gifts and hindrances not as pity or idolize the giftings but to just accept us as we are. Accept challenges and bring forth more awareness to the needs of those who are not receiving the help they need. I am referring to parents, children and adults on the spectrum. Acceptance that it’s ok for parents to be upset, concerned, exhausted, worried, feeling hopeless but to not accept those feelings as their new identity.
Don’t stay there.
Accept that a mindset of fear will make the mind look for a constant enemy, not be empowering but strip away the life ahead. Accept that you don’t have to be angry but determined to help your child and yourself. Accept that the challenges are real but if our community pulls together to seek to help parents be better equipped to help their child with autism, it can change. Accept that adults on the spectrum can bring a lot of insight to parents who do not know what it is like for their child. For those who have been in denial to accept that there are adults on the spectrum, they have a voice and they can give hope to those who feel hopeless. Accepting that parents have a voice too and need to be heard just as much as their children do. We all need to accept that we are not winning any battle by drawing lines in the sand and bashing each other. We need each other and those who are unwilling to accept that are just not ready for a paradigm shift. We need to acknowledge that, that is ok too. However, with more of us speaking out as parents for our children, giving our children a voice as well, and focusing on quality of life instead of what is seen as detriments of life, maybe that will change.
I hope there will be some minds bending to true awareness this month.
Here are some resources to help bring awareness.
Girls and Asperger’s I have several more links on this page regarding girls.
Types of Asperger’s As a means to help identify in some way not to compartmentalize, there can be many variations and mixes. It usually depends on environment and stress levels.
Life with Asperger’s (8 different types of Asperger’s)
Light it Up Blue (Reference to my post title.)