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The 2nd April is the World Autism Awareness day, thus I would like to share with you the words of a mother that have touched my heart, and I think may interest many of you.
"Like every April 2nd I get dressed in blue. Because it makes me look slenderer? Well, I might look slenderer, however, that is not why I do it but because blue is the color representing autism.
Whatch out! Not the "fight against" autism, but the fight for inclusion and awareness that autism is among us and we do not have to eradicate it. Autism is not contagious.Autism is not a choice. Autism is something that touches you, from near or from afar.
If it touches you from afar, you look askance at it ignoring what it is about and you give no importance to it.
If it touches you nearly, you first get scared, because you don't know what it is about and whe you start to understand it you activate to fight it back. But there is a moment when you become friends with it and learn to live with it. Sometimes (very few times) you are even thankful for it, because you can appreciate every tiny progress, every little change, every word, every overcome fear, every repetitious movement that stops, every imitation event, every game shared with someone else. Because thanks to autism you are aware of the growth of a child, much more than a mother of a non-autistic child. I am not a "special mother". It is not that "God chose me ecause I'm a warrior". I am a simple mortal like anyone of you, I have thaousands of doubts and fears, I do what I can in the best way I can.
Then the fear comes back. Fear that he might be abused. Tha t he might be hit, insulted and that he wouldn't know how to tell you. That he couldn't defend himself. That I would not be ther to defend him.
I take this day to let you know, and that you spread it, that autism may be strange but is not evil. Autism makes you do things that others won't understand, not because you are "whimsical" or "crazy", but because your perception of the environment is different. Because you do not know how to express with words what you feel, and you do it in rather unorthodox ways which are generally "not socially accepted". But if all of us would learn to look beyond. If each one of us stopped generalizing and started trying to really know the person behind those eyes that stare at you, that person that does not answer or that repeats what you say like a parrot, or that talks endlessly about the same subject... you will see that there is nothing to fear but you can make a friend.
I see blue everyday. not only because I share my life with autism but because I see the deep blue eyes of my son, that now are also staring at me.
Please, help to see beyond!"
I want to thank Maite for her wise and beautiful words. I will add that families coexisting with autism have a much more difficult life than other families. Not only they have the normal problems every family has, but also those generated by autism. You would be surprised to know a big percentage of those difficulties depend on th whole society functioning and on each one of us individually. We ALL can do something to make autistic people's life easier. Even YOU can.