World Autism Day/Autism Awareness Month

Today is World Autism Day and April is Autism Awareness Month.  Like most families, we didn’t know that much about autism until our son was diagnosed with it. And like most families, we were thrust into a world with little guidance, direction, advice and overall support.  The community we’ve developed in the autism world has really been a big help.

We still get comments like ‘he’s such a sweet boy’ (why wouldn’t he be?) and ‘he’s so smart’ (he doesn’t have an intellectual disability) and ‘he’s just excited to see us’ (no, that’s stimming) and ‘you should teach him to give hugs’ (he doesn’t really know you and doesn’t really understand why you want to put your arms around him, that’s weird) and ‘just bring him over, it’ll be fine’ (he’s a runner in new places, this is literally a worst nightmare situation).

I’ve posted before about doing the walk at the Detroit Zoo and raising money for the Autism Alliance of Michigan.  They are one organization that works hard to provide resources for families impacted by autism.  The two things I fully support them in is educating law enforcement on how to work with those on the spectrum (kids and adults) and providing GPS trackers for families who have runners.  It breaks my heart every time I read an article about a non-verbal child found wandering the streets and the parents aren’t around or a non-verbal child gone missing, only to find their body in some water near the home.  GPS trackers can help families and law enforcement find these kids and maybe avoid a heartbreak. 

This year is our second year that RFT Search Group will be a sponsor for the AAOM’s gala later this month.  It’s not a benefit to our company to be a sponsor, but if we can bring additional awareness to the AAOM and autism in general, then let’s go for it.

And while we’re being inclusive, April is also:

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome Awareness Month
  • National Child Abuse Prevention Month
  • National Donate Life Month
  • National Minority Health Month
  • National Parkinson’s Awareness Month
  • National Public Health Week (April 1- 7)
  • National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (April 10)
  • Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Awareness Month
  • National Superhero Day

I can’t explain to everyone at the grocery store, and we do get stares and comments.  But I can suggest that if you know nothing about autism then don’t judge and don’t comment when you see a child acting out, or a parent dealing with a difficult child.  Maybe instead assume that the parent is dealing with something you don’t understand, and just can’t grasp. 

The whole ‘until you walk in these shoes’ thing.

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