It's finally April - Autism Awareness Month! I've been thinking a lot about this blog post because in our family April is a month we look forward to, even celebrate. But I also know that for some families of children with autism it's a very difficult month. That's because it brings light to a disorder that has affected so many families, some more than others, and it's difficult to put into words how bittersweet celebrating it can be.
The reason we celebrate Autism Awareness Month is simple. Raising awareness means that more people will understand, respect and hopefully empathize with families like mine. Note that I say empathize, not sympathize! We're not looking for sympathy, just empathy. Leave the judgement at the door. When you see a family struggling with a child crying, being disobedient or throwing themselves on the floor, just think for a minute before you come to a conclusion, because chances are that child might have a developmental disability like autism.
Autism Awareness also means that the world will be a better place for my child and so many others like him. Nowadays children with autism are in mainstream schools, possibly sitting next to your son, daughter, niece, cousin or grandchild. My hope is that the more people know about autism, the more they'll realize that these kids are talented, wonderful and loving children with so much to bring to our society.
Tomorrow I'll wear my blue shirt with pride, pass out 100 puzzle shaped cookies to my friends, family and coworkers and tell them how autism has changed my life. I'm proud to be an autism warrior mom, and I hope that each year I can continue seeing the blessings that JD has brought to my life, autistic or not. I wouldn't have him ANY other way!