I used to like April, it meant rain and rain means flowers and crap like that. About three years ago we found out Racer had Autism, it felt like the whole world turned on its head. At that time I was active on Myspace, but I disappeared on myself. I withdrew and didn't really know where to turn.
I remember maybe a year into I was reading a blog on Myspace about my friend who also recently found out her daughter had Autism as well. I found it odd that neither of us had reached out to give strength, but I think its because neither of us knew what to say. I remember texting her and reaching out to her about our children, I remember finding the strength to get back online and research and find support. That lead me to facebook and twitter.
Twitter was my first home for support, the amazing parents I found there, the things I learned it was wonderful and I started being able to open up about Racer.
It was also the first time I had heard about Autism Awareness Month. I really wanted to be a part of something big. To spread awareness, to help share what Racer was dealing with along with my family. That was almost 4yrs ago now. Sadly I've come to hate April, last year I was extremely gung ho about raising awareness. But I think I realized something. People are plenty aware, everywhere you turn its there, on TV, in the movies, in books. What bugs me now, what I think we need more then anything is understanding, our children need acceptance.
If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say "Oh you mean like Rainman" or "well he doesn't look like he has Autism", I'd be a very rich woman. If I had a dollar for every time the school district fights me on services or denies services, because he tests really well 1:1, I'd be able to sue them for better services. Who doesn't test well 1:1? If I had a dollar for every stranger that gave us dirty looks or for every time a child got bullied, I'd be able to build my own school for Racer and children like him to attend.
I'm sick of awareness, I want people to understand now. I can walk down the street and ask a random stranger "hey you ever heard of Autism before?" chances are that they will say yes, but the likelihood that they don't truly understand what it means aren't good odds.
Will I go on a crusade to bring understanding? I might, but I do that every time I blog, but how do I reach that clueless few? Do I bother? Won't they be clueless no matter what I say or do?
I was really excited to be part of this 30 days of Autism series. But I've been struggling with it emotionally, I'm at a loss for words, I live in Autism 365 days a year. How do I get everyone to understand in 30 days what I blog about year round?
With all the bickering lately within the community, I feel the greater understanding needs to come from within, before I can push it out to the rest of the world.