Friday, April 5, 2019

Autism Awareness is Not for the Weak, it is for the Whole Month

April is Autism Awareness month, and the UN declared April 2nd, as World Autism Day to signify a unity to spread awareness around the world. Autism affects numerous amounts of people, and it is a broad spectrum of behaviors and abilities/disabilities, quirks and sometimes meltdowns. Having a child with Autism is not something I could genuinely explain to someone, I will say this, there are good days and bad days like with most kids, but the bad ones can be so awful. The good days are precious gems and can make up for the meltdowns over a toy you can't find. (My son is tenacious, to say the least.)

It seems we as a society have come to a better understanding of people with Autism and working with them to be inclusive and engaged. This is in the classrooms, employment, and media/entertainment. Sesame Street introduced the first muppet with Autism, Julia a couple of years ago. This year Barnes & Noble will be holding storytime events at 630 locations across the country on April 6 featuring Julia’s first book, Family Forever. Parents can find all of the new videos and free resources at [1] Teaching children at a young age to be inclusive and patient with their friends at school who could be on the spectrum is a beautiful way to spread awareness.

The wonderful teachers/faculty and students who my son go to school with are amazing. We have not had the challenges and difficulties some parents have had to face at other school districts, and I am so thankful for that and happy for my son. GHMS has the ATLAS Program, and it is such a good head start for these kids. They are learning about life skills such as cooking food or shopping and academic work. There should be programs like this available where ever needed to give all kids on the spectrum an opportunity to thrive.

Last month, was women's history month, and I wrote an article about a teenage girl Greta Thunberg. Greta is protesting every Friday to help fight climate change and she is on the Autism Spectrum. It is so awesome for people on the spectrum to see someone like them in the spotlight and as a role model. More people are becoming aware and involved. Hopefully someday, having a month dedicated to awareness will educate more of us and we can be more accepting, inclusive, and helpful.


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