Beyond Autism Awareness

 

It’s April. With the month of April comes “Autism Awareness” month. For those of you who are just catching up, we have a 5 year old daughter who is incredibly smart, beautiful, kind, and spunky. She also happens to have Autism Spectrum Disorder. We got her official medical diagnosis almost a year ago, and we’ve begun this bumpy, terrifying, yet incredible journey.

The purpose of this post is not to educate you about Autism, or explain the signs, causes, and treatments. What I really want is for everyone to think about this month as “Autism Acceptance”. And not just for Autism, but for everything and everyone who might be a bit different. It is easy to be aware of C’s differences, but to accept them? That’s a whole other beast.

I’ve accepted that we will never be a “normal” family. Outings, vacations, even trips to the grocery require extreme planning. I often have a babysitter or my mom in tow because during a melt down things turn tragic quickly and evacuating with two child often requires two adults. I’ve learned to accept we will have good days and awful days. I celebrate the tiny victories on the good days, and use the bad days as a learning experience. I’ve accepted that I will never be the perfect mom and will continue to make mistakes along the way.

I’ve accepted that people are assholes. No matter how much I educate someone about autism, they still may not accept that autism is a “real thing”. People are ALWAYS going to judge. People are ALWAYS going to say things that piss me off. I’ve learned to move on. Their loss, not mine.

Lastly, I’ve accepted that C is different, but not less of person. She is smart and capable of learning so much. She’s the kind of kid that is more interested in the inchworm on the sidewalk rather than greeting her classmates at school. She loves to touch, smell, and sometimes lick, everything in sight. She has memorized almost every Disney, Pixar, and Dreamworks movie, line by line. She can’t always verbally articulate how she’s feeling, but she comes up with the most interesting ways to convey her emotions and feelings. So yes, she’s “different”, but she’s amazing. If you can take a few minutes to see past someone’s “differences”, maybe you’ll find that they are a pretty incredible too.

Shout out to Nancy Hodari and Equilibrium in Michigan from my family in Connecticut: Thanks for supporting the Michigan Shines for Autism Gala, April 29th, 2017. To my peeps in Detroit get your tickets here: Autism Awareness Gala

Martina Sprague
Certified Stott Pilates Instructor
Owner: Balanced Pilates