Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Happy Autism Awareness Day!

If it is one thing we are in this house, it is AWARE of autism.  Red has Asperger's (+ puberty, which means I live in purgatory), and we are currently in the midst of having the Fluffyheaded Diva evaluated to see if her behaviors are on the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or if she's just mimicking her big brother's behaviors.

In the last couple of years, we've witnessed our share of rolled eyes and judgey responses to Red's diagnosis.  I sincerely believe that most people think that we are just jumping on the bandwagon of the latest trendy "disease".  But allow me to be very clear on a couple of things, for those of you who might be doubting the validity ...

Autism is NOT a disease!

As humans, we are all very different.  Some of us like math, some of us enjoy writing.  Some of us like sports, others enjoy chess.  Some of us are outgoing, some are introverted.  However, there is something even more different about people who have ASD.  Their traits vary just a bit more than the average unique person.  But people with ASD are not sick or contagious, they are not defective or lesser quality people, and they are NOT retarded.  In fact, most people on the ASD are smarter than the average bear, and we're finding that some of the greatest geniuses in history probably suffered from sort of form of autism.

Get the facts, and teach your own children!

If you want to know what traits Red has that qualify him as an Aspie, I will be more than happy to tell you about the endless hours that I get to hear about Legos and Mindcraft.  I can share with you about how it takes him two hours to get ready before we leave because he has to go through his own process. I did not *desire* an off-the-wall diagnosis for my child, it was they way he was born.  So, before you don your Judgey McJudgerson hat, ask me what its like.  Ask one of your friends, ask your doctor or pediatrician, Google it.  Remember that people with ASD are PEOPLE - first and foremost.

A few months ago, I was walking through the grocery store and witnessed a kid who was in full hand-flappy and spinny mode.  This is called stimming.  I smiled to myself and went about my business of picking out my cereal.  Behind me, I could hear an older couple rudely whispering about how that child just needed a good whipping.  THIS is the kind of judgement that is NOT acceptable.  The little boy was happy, and that is how he was expressing himself.  You don't beat out behavior like that.  Instead, you rejoice that he is having a good day, and not having a complete and total meltdown.

More importantly that getting rid of our own stigmas, it is time to teach the next generation a little bit of acceptance and educate them on the differences of others.  One of my favorite Mommy Bloggers, Stark Raving Mad Mommy, wrote this piece on Babble and I lurved it.  I just can't say it better than this ... so take a minute and go read it.

Parental Advisory Warning ...

As I just stated, I am more than happy to answer questions.  People are genuinely curious, and I get that.  I will talk, explain, share, cry with, and educate all day long.  But, the first time that I feel my child is being insulted, I will go all Hulk and SMASH.  I may seem funny and lovable, but when it comes to my kids, I can go from sassy to hair-pulling, trash-talking, brain-bashing mommabear faster than the wi-fi at NASA.

So, with all of that being said ... wear you blue today, and be aware - and accepting - of folks with autism ... somebody's mom will appreciate it :)

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