Three Simple Tips to Promote Autism Acceptance

April is almost over, and with it ends Autism Awareness Month. Still, even though the official month may be over for the lives of autism families like my own, the need for Autism acceptance does not end as we flip up the calendar. It is needed more and more each day. And so today, I wanted to take a few quick moments and share the best three ways that I can personally think of to help spread not just awareness, but more importantly, acceptance too.

1. Educate Yourself.

Even in 2019 with autism being something we all know of- there is still so much misinformation and so much ignorance on the subject. To be honest, it truly is very difficult to understand all the ins and outs unless you are actually dealing with it on a daily basis. Autism is SUCH a wide spectrum with varying degrees of impact and abilities. It is hard to paint just one picture of what autism is, because it's different for each and every person. Don't just stick with the age old stereotypes of what autism should look like, but truly learn about what it really is--- the good AND the bad.

2. Teach Your Kids/Lead By Example.

To be 100% honest, the hardest part of having an autistic child has nothing to do with any of the behaviors so often associated with autism. Sure, those can present their own challenges...but the same can be said of parenting in general. No, the hardest part is dealing with OTHER people's reactions towards my son. It is seeing the whispers from adults and children alike when he is struggling in public. It is seeing kids pick on him or watching him struggle to make friends because he isn't just like everyone else. It is having adults yell at my child because of circumstances beyond his control. It is having to remove my child from an organization that is supposed to teach boys kindness and civility because of the teasing from those same boys, and judgement and negative talk from the parents.

If we truly want autism acceptance, we have to do better. We have to teach our children to respect those are differently-abled than themselves, and to do that, we have to show them by our own actions. If we tell our children to be kind to everyone, but throw judgmental glances and whispers at the kid having a very public meltdown, they're getting the second message loud and clear. 

3. Listen To Autistic Adults.

Who knows better about autism than those who are actually experiencing it firsthand. Yes, as a mom I have a pretty decent understanding...and as someone who likewise struggles with severe social anxiety there are many aspects that I have a better understanding of in that regard as well... but nowhere near to the same degree as someone who is right there living it. Sadly in the autism community, these verses are often shut down. They are told that they must be 'higher functioning' and therefor cannot understand what it's like. While I won't go into the issue of such functioning labels right now... this truly is a huge problem. Autism is so often thought of as a childhood condition, but the reality is it's not. Our children grow up and become autistic adults and if we truly want acceptance for our children, these verses NEED to be heard. If they say that the messages of Autism Speaks are hurtful and demeaning, LISTEN. If they say that stimming is beneficial and not something that should be stopped, LISTEN. They're the experts, let's listen and respect them as we hope to have our children respected as well. 

1 comment

  1. This is a wonderful and helpful article. I do agree that educating about Autism is a must. I have an adult son with autism and I am still educating myself about this. I do think even doctors need to be more educated and compassionate.

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