Monday, April 18, 2011

What Can YOU Do To Promote Autism Awareness?

As a parent of a child on the autism spectrum, what can you do to become more aware this month?

Because I don’t have a child with autism, my passion for autism has been enriched by having the opportunity to meet and get to know many of your children; as a teacher, a consultant, an early interventionist, a friend or as we share experiences with The Eating Game.

Each person I have met with autism, child, youth or adult has increased my awareness. It continues to amaze me how wide this spectrum really is. Of course what is so significant when we really get to know the person is that we see that the "autism" is just a part of who they are as a unique person, and an important part of who they are.

But it is also about how different "their autism" is and:

how differently it is perceived by family members, friends and community
how differently the person with autism is treated by their family, friends and community
what strengths their family has to offer them i for needed support while encouraging maximum independence.
what support systems are available to their familiy
what opportunities they have to experience inclusive communities (home, school, neighbourhood, workplace, globally)
what opportunities they have had for early intervention and perhaps ongoing therapy
what there intellectual abilities really are and how they learn to be their personal best
I know as a parent with a child with autism you have precious little time for anything else. I would suggest to you that it has been my life experience, that by reaching out to help someone else we can be so uplifted and even seem to lighten our own load, so to speak.

Perhaps this month you could reach out to a family in your community who has a child (youth/adult) with autism that you don't know, maybe one on a very different part of the spectrum from your child or a family who has had very different opportunities than you have. Perhaps your community support group could reach out to families who are not yet involved in your group.

Get to know them and increase your awareness too.

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