Today I wanted to do a companion post to yesterday’s “Emma Discusses – Awareness“, with a post entitled, “Emma Discusses – Acceptance”. I love when Emma tells me to put something she’s written on the blog, because her words are always so profound and insightful. But once we returned home Em was too tired, so I resigned myself to writing about Autism Awareness and what that means to me. After all today is World Autism Awareness Day.
A year ago I wrote a post – Autism Awareness? where I discussed how my awareness regarding autism has changed over the years. The next day I wrote – “What I Wish I’d Been Made Aware of When my Daughter Was Diagnosed With Autism“. After rereading those posts, I then remembered a couple of others I’d written about autism awareness and acceptance, ‘here,’ ‘here,’ ‘here,’ and ‘here‘. And after all that I just felt cranky. Seriously. Just cranky.
I don’t look forward to April the way I once did. April is a loaded month when many of my friends feel they must hide or cannot look at social media because they know they’ll be triggered by all the calls to “light it up blue,” the hype from organizations like Autism Speaks who seem to do nothing, but speak… it’s exhausting and in the end the awareness they’re pushing isn’t awareness that helps either me or my daughter. What they seem to call awareness, is to my mind hyperbole, fear mongering and irresponsible. I’ll be honest, I would be happy if Autism Speaks folded up their little tents and found something else to rant about.
In addition to Autism Speaks’ dire calls for action, the CDC released new statistics – 1 in 68 – and I just groaned because I know how those numbers will be used, forget that they’re almost completely meaningless and actually not an accurate number as Jim Martin explains in his most recent post, 3 Reasons Why Canadians (and Everyone Else) Should Stop Using the 1 in 68 Autism Stat (For Now). More fear. More anger. More calls for action. More listening to people who don’t know what they’re talking about. More and more and more and more and I just want to crank up Pharrell Williams’ Happy at full volume, put it on repeat and dance.
So in the midst of all the calls for awareness I’m going to hold my daughter close, revel in her presence, sink into my immeasurable gratitude that I get to be her mom and feel the joy in knowing she is a young woman who is talented, funny, creative, wise, insightful, kind, and more forgiving than anyone I’ve ever met. And, boy, am I proud of her.
How’s that for a little awareness?