April is Autism Awareness Month. But as a friend would say Awareness and Acceptance month. A month many lights it up blue to acknowledge this growing epidemic. Autism Spectrum Disorder isn’t as clear cut and recognizable as other disorders you see the similar characteristic in all children with all children making it difficult even sometimes for the doctors to recognize the possibility of the final diagnoses. Many times those on the spectrum may have systems of other diagnoses, but something about their behavior that leaves many knowing more is going on than just that diagnoses or a second one needed too. With as many as 1:68 children being diagnosed here in the United States, often Autism Spectrum Disorder does not come alone. Many may have other medical, mental, physical disorders. ACCEPTANCE is just as important as awareness.
April 10th, Julia was revealed. Sesame Street’s first muppet with Autism made her debut yesterday on PBS and HBO. This is a giant step in educating about the differences and similarities that children with autism have with neurotypical children. I am very thankful that Sesame Street’s has now included Julia on its flagship platform to reach many and change broadcasting of our children. More clips are shared on Sesame Street’s YouTube Channel.
From Childhood Bullying
But I would like to bring in another view of acceptance need of children diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum. Many times we hear stories of how our children have been treated either by bullying or being ignored and shunned. But have you ever considered how the parents of these children are treated? Many feel just as bullied and ostracized by other adults from community events to the sanity of the House of Worship. From having access denied to our children from joining other youth programs to even allowing the parents to volunteer. Over the recent weeks, I have heard or witness stories of parents who share how they were asked to remove their child from Boy Scouts to Sunday school programs. How parents have been shamed for sharing their honest story of the journey they have taken both mentally and physically since receiving the diagnoses.
To Parents being Ostracized
This can not be. I once did a report on the number of murder/suicides committed by mothers who felt alone and ashamed because of their child’s diagnoses. I never forget in 2013 hearing the story of a mother who lived in my community that seemed to have everything going for her in the public eye, yet struggled to receive the help she needed at home to care for son. Everyone believing she could deal, believing there was nothing they more could do. With no help from her family to friends, she took her life and the life of her son to end the pain and the struggle. She was just many stories I research from the west coast to the east from the south to the west. To this day, if you took the time to research, you would find that it’s still happening today.
Is there a cure?
An article I posted on “Children with ADHD & ASD & Developmental Disorders in New York and Beyond” on Facebook, a mother wrote how she despised this month. She a mother of three little girls diagnosed with different levels of autism and who will all need direct support for the rest of their lives. What she wants is a cure, and antidote to end this epidemic. Many parents wish for the same thing, but one doesn’t exist. Many over the years have boosted about how their child has been healed. All I can say is to those parents is that either your child was misdiagnosed or your child was high functioning enough they learned skills to manage their triggers.
Connect the Pieces
What I would like to see since this is a worldwide epidemic. Is for all governments to recognize that the only common denominator among the countries is our food and chemical supply. That the chemical and preservatives used in the last twenty to thirty years to grow food and feed our animal stock, with no study of the long-term human effect, are now having a major impact on our civilization.
This month, while your conscience is realizing the different levels of autism, noticed your treatment towards the child and their parents.
Acceptance is the next step to awareness.