Today is World Autism Awareness Day. As for now, when it’s 6:35 pm, I can assure you that everyone I know is familiar with what today is all about. You see, I’m a proud autism mama and I’m everything but shy about it – especially not today. I’ve been blasting images and exclamation marks on Facebook to do my part in raising the awareness. I do have bigger news though, but as I’m about to be interviewed by Autism Live in just a few moments, I really don’t have the time to tell you about it right now. However, I promise that I will later today so please check in again.
It’s been a year today since you let your presence known and changed our lives forever. I won’t lie, getting the verdict was a tremendous shock and it didn’t get easier when we realized, soon after, that not only did JA have autism but also his younger brother, V. For days we were in complete denial and disbelief. For weeks we were devastated, grieving the loss of our sons’ future we had imagined. We didn’t give you the warmest welcome – rather the opposite. We were angry with you for choosing our boys as targets. We hated your presence and for a long time, we had nothing but negative feelings towards you. I think it’s safe to say that we were not prepared for your appearance but I guess it has something to do with your bad reputation. Fortunately, we’ve come to learn that your reputation is grossly exaggerated.
Today is the 5th annual World Autism Awareness Day, celebrated worldwide with the hope of getting the attention of as many as possible. One part of that is Light It Up Blue, a united act of lighting up famous landmarks, such as the Empire State Building and the Sydney Opera House, with a blue light on this very day. On Twitter, there will be a storm of tweets using the hashtag #WorldAutismDay to support the cause. I’ve decided to dedicate this post to correcting 10 myths of autism that many people still believe to be true. Please share this with as many people as possible to help raise autism awareness.
After our older son got the autism diagnosis it pretty soon came to the point where we discussed whether and to what extent we should tell people about his condition. The very first concern that we had was that telling people about him being autistic would automatically put a label on him with unknown consequences. First and foremost, we were concerned with how it would affect our son but naturally, we discussed it also from our perspective as parents. We took to the internet where we read about how other parents of autistic children were addressing this fundamental question about how openly the child’s autism disorder should be discussed and found that it varies substantially between people. As a result, I have summarized a few plausible affects, both positive and negative, of opening up and telling people about the autism diagnosis.