There are some Facebook “awareness” posts that have bothered me for quite some time. First there was the one that had women posting a color: “Red” or “Pink.” Then, when friends would ask what that meant, they’d get a private message that said something like, “Aha! You should never have commented on my post! Now you have to post the color of your bra. Don’t tell anyone what it means. This is for Breast Cancer Awareness. Don’t spoil the fun!” Another more recent one was for Autism Awareness. This one just said, “There was a squirrel in my car!”
I never did understand how this promoted awareness if nobody knows what it means unless they comment. First, there probably isn’t a person on Facebook that has never heard of breast cancer or Autism. What they aren’t aware of, and what these posts never share, are any details of what to look for.
Since my son is on the spectrum and I would have been exceedingly grateful for any details when he was a boy, the next four posts will be devoted to what I call Real Autism Awareness and what my son says is Shock and Awe-tism because many of the things you’ll learn this month will be quite new to most of you. Autism is misunderstood by most and if I had been made aware of these things, my son wouldn’t have spent so many years frustrated and blaming himself.
Before I get started, I’d like to share a couple disclaimers:
1. I am by no means an expert in Autism. I’m just a mom who has some better insights into her own son and wants to help other moms with their children if at all possible.
2. Despite some of the comments I’ve gotten, my intention is not to “spoil the fun” and I do understand that most people posted these things thinking they wanted to help. I would just like to bring some real help…real awareness to those who need it because there is so little out there.
With all that being established, I’d like to give you the first and most important thing you’ll learn about Autism: There are as many ways to be Autistic as there are Autistic people! Autism isn’t just what Hollywood shows you in movies and TV shows. Autism is a spectrum of issues. Some Autistic people have some. Some have others. Some have a few. Some have many. Some have one that is a huge issue. Others may have that as a minor issue. Some Autistic kids will display certain things that make you think they are different and some, like my son, don’t and you’d never know it to look at them. But they struggle anyway and I’d like to help!
So stay tuned to my blog for three more important Real Autism Awareness posts. I hope you’ll share them all over social media and with your friends who may have a child who is unique…like mine! Now, THAT’s Real Autism Awareness!