Sorry. Comments had to be closed.April is Autism Awareness Month. That might not even be on my radar if I wasn’t the grandmother of two fantastic little boys who have been diagnosed on the autism spectrum. Old timers here might remember praying for our family and our grandson Conner three years ago when he had heart surgery at Vanderbilt when he was only two months old. He and his older brother Mason are very special, very normal, and very different, but they both face the challenge of a life lived with some challenges that most of us do not have to live with.
Johnny Bravo shared the story on the video below on my post this morning, which made me think about the work my daughter in law is doing year round, and especially this month, with the local autism group. I wanted to share this awesome story, and I googled information about autism awareness only to find out that there is some controversy over it. Some parents “hate that term” to use their wording. Some advocate acceptance instead of awareness.
I am not going to figure out the angst and resentment, it seems to me that people need to be aware of something before acceptance comes.
I took this definition from gemiini.org blog and their post on autism awareness, where I also found the picture.
One of the most simple definitions of Autism is:
“A mental condition, present from early childhood, characterized by difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with other people and in using language and abstract concepts.”
I would add to that definition that autistic people may have sensory processing issues. My oldest grandson is very sensitive to sound and he often wears headphones to protect him. For example, we never thought about the music at mass, which normally isn’t a problem. But last Easter the choir and organist were truly singing and playing at highest levels, joyfully celebrating, but to Mason it was very, very painful.
Anyhow, all I really wanted to say is this. Parents and caregivers of autistic children have a very challenging and tough job. It is heartbreaking, tiring, humbling, and ass kicking hard. Sometimes something like this happens, and you cannot believe how much it can revitalize and change not just a child, but a mom and dad and family.
Autistic children may be the “brats” you think are throwing a fit. They might be the shy child who is over in the corner. They might be the child who is fixated on the meerkats at the zoo and won’t leave the window so your child can have a turn (yep, that’s Conner) or they may be loud, say socially awkward things, or you may never even know they are around you. Any kindness you extend will make their family’s burden much lighter.
Thanks to Johnny Bravo for sharing this awesome story. It made my day.