I very reluctantly started “Facebooking” in March of this year and, despite my best efforts, have actually enjoyed the experience. It has allowed me the opportunity to connect with individuals from my personal life I don’t usually have the opportunity to chat with, including some of my fellow classmates. It has also provided me the opportunity to get updates on politcal, philosophical, scientific, etc. topics that pertain to, or interest, me. Naturally, I have joined several Autism groups through which I’ve been able to keep updated on new things in the Autism community. One of the things I’ve come across is a meme that says, “It’s an Autism thing, you wouldn’t understand.” For some reason, that one kind of rubbed me the wrong way and, I’ll tell you why.
As an Autism parent, I feel it is my duty to be an advocate for my child and the best way to do so is by spreading awareness. Informing someone that they couldn’t possibly possess the level of empathy to understand a particular reality in our lives is not only mildly insulting, it also shuts down any kind of communication. I don’t care how complex the subject may be, I will do whatever it takes to help someone understand. If I do so respectfully and politely, I will have increased my chances of not only spreading a little bit of awareness to that particular person, I will also hopefully have inspired them to also become an advocate for Autism awareness.
Keep in mind, I do understand there are instances when some people, for whatever reason, just aren’t going to understand or even try. There are people out there who feel that Autism is a label that is misapplied, that these children “just need some good old-fashioned discipline,” or that we, as parents, are just trying to get attention. This misinformed outlook is all the more reason to get this information out there. If we want them to understand the complexities of Autism, then we need to be ready to extend some understanding as well.