Our differences. Our traits, beliefs, preferences, abilities, frailties, exceptionalities – all of it. These are the things that make the world go ‘round. Dr. Temple Grandin, who quite famously uttered the words “I am different, not less” knew what she was talking about. She lives with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and the details of her journey are truly fascinating.
Wouldn’t life be awful if every single person you met was exactly like you? Nothing new, nothing challenging; same ‘ol thing day in and day out. How fortunate we are to live a life so full of variety and busting with extraordinarily ordinary people. We’re awesome!
But sometimes, our awesome selves unintentionally and with pure hearts, overlook or don’t look hard enough to see the beauty that lies within the minds, bodies and spirits of those whose appearance, actions or behaviours we don’t understand. We might inadvertently subscribe to common myths, show pity or distress or even shy away from a family clearly living a different lifestyle than our own yet thriving along their path touched by autism. We may even forget (or at least forget to clearly point out to our kids) that no one is less than any other person; we are all just different.
Now my creative juices are really flowing! (Uh-oh. Here we go! LOL!) In the spirit of awareness, I have an idea! How about we make a point of celebrating Autism Awareness Day this year by doing a couple of easy-peasy little things that’ll go a long way?
1. Light it up BLUE on April 2nd – wear blue to show our acceptance and support to everyone whose lives are touched by autism.
2. Seize the teachable moment the next time our kids – embarrass us by staring at someone in the mall, or – ask about another person’s unique appearance or behavior. Point out to them that everyone is beautiful and exceptional in their own way. Comment on specific things that we may struggle with but others may do very well (things that you can’t tell by looking at them in the mall!). 🙂
3. Commit to learning at least one thing about autism spectrum disorder. These handy links will help us stick to this one!
- Autism Spectrum Disorder – what exactly is it?
- Early identification – if you see the signs, don’t wait!
- Bullying and ASD – it happens more than you think. (This tip sheet is not locally produced but I couldn’t resist it because the information is so good – just please don’t call the number along the bottom of the sheet! If you’d like to reach us, please call 311.)
- Blogs – have a read
So, you gonna light it up blue? Tell us about it!
- Leave us a comment below
- Tweet with us @haltonparents
- Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call the HaltonParents line for parenting information or to speak directly to a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) Simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.
About this blogger:
Paula D’Orazio RN is a public health nurse with the Early Years Health Program at the Halton Region Health Department. Wanna know more about her? Read her blogs! She’ll tell ya! (She kinda likes to talk.)