I just don’t post on here very often…I have lots of irons in the fire, so to speak. But I kind of like that there is this big push to be aware of Autism in April. Obviously, our family is pretty much always aware of Autism.
I’ve been pondering awareness. We were at a local Eyemart, and the staff did a great job of accommodating Tessa in spite of, or because of, her meltdown status. She was approaching one fast.
As I was checking out, I got brave, and asked the guy if he had anyone in his family with Autism. He shook his head no, but the guy standing next to him said his cousin had it. I glibly noted the national and state statistics and the conversation stalled out about that point. (National 1 in 110, Indiana 1 in 88)
I got to thinking, what does Awareness mean? To a family struggling and striving with Autism every single day with no breaks, I think Awareness means other people opening their eyes to not just the existence of people on the Spectrum, but being aware that families touched by Autism are struggling and striving with it every single day with no breaks.
When a store or restaurant goes out of their way to serve a family who has a member with Autism, it speaks volumes to everyone…it says something like, We notice you, we acknowledge your battle and we want to help you out today. That is the kind of Awareness I would like to see. Note the story about Chili’s doing their best to help out a customer with Autism.
I’ve been thinking about taking Tessa out more frequently this month…trips we would normally not make with her to avoid meltdowns. I have this notion that maybe with all the Awareness floating around, maybe we’ll have slightly less embarrassing episodes in public. Not that the episodes will be fewer, but that we won’t feel as embarrassed because people will have their eyes open to the disorder.
Whatever our experiences are in public, in private our family has learned to cope the best we can. We cling to the hilarious moments and breathe deep through the hectic ones. I can say with 100% certainty that our family wouldn’t be complete without Tessa in it, and dare I say…wouldn’t be as happy without Autism.
If you would like to read more essays about our family’s experiences with Autism, check out my collection on Amazon Kindle. “Looking for Joy: Insights from One Family’s Autism Journey in Essay Form” by V. L. Holt It will be FREE for a few days starting April 5th.