I must admit I am like a kid on Christmas or a child waiting for their birthday to arrive in March. I get excited when April is approaching. This is my time to spread awareness, light it up blue and talk about autism. It wasn’t until last year that I decided that I don’t have to get depressed when April is almost over.
You see to me April was the month that we could venture out wearing our autism puzzle pieces and people wouldn’t judge us. Some people looked at us with pity in their eyes. Others gave us a smile and made us feel welcomed. When May arrived I went back to being silent and it was business as usual. We stayed trapped in our home where we felt safe.
Last year something changed. I wasn’t hiding or staying silent anymore. I felt empowered to keep sharing, keep writing and keep advocating for autism. It wasn’t a hobby or something that I would devote one month to. It became my passion, my mission and a new vision to speak about autism acceptance.
This journey allowed me to meet some amazing people and has challenged me to step out on faith and try things that I never would have in the past. Also, I no longer listen to the negativity of others. When people tell me I’m sorry your daughter has autism. I begin to tell them what she does have. She has a sense of love of kindness. She has a style for fashion and a great right hook. She has a brother that loves her, and she can read. She knows she is loved and the list goes on and on. I don’t need your I’m sorry. I need you to teach your children acceptance.
I met a single dad in the grocery store the other day. He was with his daughter she may have been sixteen years old. She was having a difficult time waiting. He was helping her decide which bills to pay the cashier. He turned to me and apologized for taking so long.
I told him I was just going to compliment him on his prompting and calming techniques and that I learned something that I could try with my daughter. Immediately his shoulders relaxed and he smiled and said thank you. He told me he felt overwhelmed and really didn’t want to leave the house but they needed to. He said he never thought he would be a single dad.
We don’t know what our future holds for us. We never know what we may have to face in this life. One thing I know is that I will never stop fighting for what I believe in. I will share my story with all who will listen and meet new friends along the way. We lost some friends on this journey, but God replaced them with amazing friends and families.