It’s been a really long time since I shared a really simple post about what my goals are for the Autism Community. I can’t control what anyone thinks, says or does, but perhaps I can have some influence. Whether that’s a good or bad thing is up to you I suppose.
I’ll keep this brief and to the point.
One of the things that just breaks my heart about the Autism Community, is that we are fragmented. Being fragmented in and of itself, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It means that we are made up of many different pieces and parts. We come from different backgrounds and have experienced different things.
The problem, in my opinion, is that instead of learning from each others differences and making ourselves stronger, we allow them to divide us.
If you need proof, just look at the all the different lines that have been drawn in the sand.
On one side, we have people that believe in vaccinating their kids and on the other side, there are people who wholeheartedly believe that vaccines are the cause of Autism.
There are also people who believe in neuro-diversity and on the opposite side of the line we have people that desperately seek a cure for Autism.
The absolute worst is that we have Autistic adults on one side of a line and parents of kids with Autism on the other. How does that even happen?
I could go on and on.
What we need more than just about anything else is unity. We can complain all we want about the world not being accepting and understanding of Autism but that’s really pretty hypocritical if you ask me. In fact, it’s even ironic because we are expecting things of people that we are failing to do ourselves.
Instead of allowing our petty differences (and yes, they are petty differences) to divide us, we should be embracing them.
Autism is such a profoundly dynamic condition, that we can’t possibly assume that everyone shares the same experience, simply because they have the same diagnosis. However, that tends to be exactly what happens.
Before we even have the right to ask anyone else to be Autism Aware or to be accepting or understanding, we have to lead by example. We can’t just talk the talk, that’s simply not good enough.
Contrary to what’s going on around us, we don’t have to share the same beliefs or experiences to be on the same side and working together towards a common goal. It takes all types to make the world go round and believe it or not, we can always find common ground.
My personal approach to addressing these problems has been very successful. At Lost and Tired, we have managed to see past our differences. We have proven that it’s possible for parents that vaccinate their children and parents that don’t, to get along and even discuss our reasons for believing what we do. We may never agree on certain topics but that doesn’t mean we still can’t learn things from each other.
We have also proven that Autistic adults and parents of kids with Autism can work together, learn from each other and even build friendships.
We understand that everyone with Autism is different and so the desire to be accepted for who one is, is just as valid as someone that seeks a cure to free themselves or their child from symptoms that may be quite severe.
At the end of the day, it’s not our place to judge others, if for no other reason than we don’t know what it’s like to walk a mile in their shoes.
Autism is not a one size fits all diagnosis.
Before we can expect the world to understand that, we need to do the same.
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