I think. I am. becoming....a ....social meadia junkie! Totally got the bug these days thanks to my pals Kellie and Jill (strong whistles and accolades). Yesterday I even added friends to twitter ;-) Yes- I feel like I just came out.
Most of the time I blog and write of facebook about things like Autism. Obviously a cause dear to my heart since my little guy keeps our lives interesting. In our lives with the little guy, we have been known to throw the 'A' word around in comparison to his strange behaviors now and then. I mostly associate his odd behaviors to his inheritance of his father's genetics, but some crazy doctor told me it was Autism. Go figure.
Tonight I happened across a blog by autismarmymom where she mentioned the subject of parents not sharing with others about their kids Autism and it got me thinking.... I feel empathy...not sympathy, not sorry...but empathy for parents who feel they might be criticized or judged because of their child's diagnosis of Autism. Heck...the first time I said the A word at a family event I thought my grandma was going to need the heimlich after she choked on her cake! (true story!) I see this a lot with the families I work with at our nonprofit. From a therapist's point of view, the grieving process about their child's diagnosis is still fresh. Now, I'm not criticizing anyone or saying any person is wrong or otherwise if they don't wish to share, but for me and my family, it has been a liberating experience because it has offered an opportunity for our community to have acceptance and become aware of Autism.
Nowwww.....I see that the older the boy gets, the harder it is to share his diagnosis with those who don't know. When he was 3 years old he was a cute little blondie with a big smile and everyone would comment "you would never know! Look how cute he is!" I can assure you that as a 7 year old- having a massive tantrum isn't cute anymore. Parents at school have ridiculed him and me, because of his behavior and maybe it's time I started shouting from the rooftops again "Hellooooooo.......the boy has Autism!"
Autism is what it is....it's not an excuse persay, it is my responsibility as a parent to continue to teach him socially responsible behaviors appropriate to his disability. Maybe it's difficult to shout the A word about your kid because you think others may think you are making an excuse? Yea...maybe a little, but when you speak the A word to others- I believe you are spreading awareness and understanding among others.
People are afraid of people with disabilities ...it's a fact. I used to be. I admit that people in wheelchairs or disabilities I'm not familiar with, kinda make me uncomfortable. I'm not uncomfortable because I'm afraid of them, but because I don't want to offend them with my ignorance. As a member of the state's disability council I have had the opportunity to hang out with some pretty cool people with developmental disabilities. They have brought me into their world and helped me to understand what it's like to be them. They have advocated for themselves by educating and accepting my ignorant ass and in return I have become more understanding...voila!
How do you help cure ignorance? Educate them...bring awareness...help others to understand your struggle. That's how things get done.
Just my 2 cents...only two, because right now I'm broke.