There it is. Another April is coming to an end, as is my Faces of Autism Project for 2019. Thank you to all of the kids and families who participated. Without you this wouldn’t be possible. Thank you to all that read these stories and shared them. Thank you for supporting these kids and families and taking the time to learn a bit about them.
Although this acceptance campaign is finishing, I never stop advocating for awareness and acceptance. Which is true of all of the families and individuals you had a chance to get to know a little throughout the month. For us, Autism Awareness Month is EVERY month.
Although only children and teens have been featured on my project so far, there are many adults on the spectrum as well. And it isn’t too long until these kids are autistic adults. And with that comes new challenges for them. It is one thing to have a school that knows and understands the different way a child might think and learn. It is a completely other to have that roll over into the workforce. Part of autism awareness and acceptance is us, as a community, acknowledging that. What can we do to help autistic children transition into adulthood and become independent autistic adults? Not just as parents, but as society as a whole?
There is a quote that makes it’s round in the various groups for parent’s of kids with autism that says “I wouldn’t change you for the world, but I will change the world for you.” The truth of the matter is, we try. We advocate. We talk about autism to everyone we meet. We share articles, images, blogs, and videos. We go into schools, we talk to teachers and students. We spend so much time spreading awareness and promoting acceptance. But there is only so much we can do without the help of others. Those that aren’t as closely connected to autism. The business owners and managers. The people you pass in the grocery store. We need their help too. We need THEM to help promote acceptance, not just in words, but in actions.
What actions you might be wondering? It starts simple. Don’t be afraid of different. Don’t judge that child or their parents when you witness a meltdown while in Target. Teach your children to value ALL people. Hire neurodiverse individuals and learn how to communicate effectively with them. Volunteer, donate, or sponsor events for the various organizations in the community that support these individuals. (BisMan Autism Families is my favorite, obviously. But I will admit my bias). Honestly, this list goes on and on. If you are interested in more ideas, please feel free to reach out to me. Send me an email, call, text, whatever you are comfortable with.
If you are interested in participating in Faces of Autism next year, please email me so I can send you a reminder when I start preparing next year.