April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day. Call me biased, but it’s more important to me than breast cancer awareness, and that gets its own month and all the glory. Awareness, on its own, isn’t going to do much to help breast cancer. But being aware (and nothing more) could change everything for autism.
People with autism need a little more patience. They need a little more understanding. We need the world to know that there is a growing population of people who are trying but just can’t act “normal” in social exchanges. Don’t jump immediately to anger. Be aware. This thing called autism exists. Understand what it is and what it does.
Today is the day to wear blue. Put on a blue shirt, pin on a blue ribbon, grab a blue hat on your way out the door. You can show your support by wearing blue. You can make a difference by telling someone why you chose your outfit this morning.
Last year, our friends and family went above and beyond for Yoshi. They all donned blue and sent pictures our way to show him their support. Big Brother put together a montage video for him, that we watch over breakfast sometimes to get our day off to a great start. We received more than seventy pictures.
That video makes my heart swell. It’s something that I want to play for the world (but I can’t because it’s full of pictures of other people’s children) to show the love that people are capable of. Sometimes, in this day and age, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that humans do love—more than they hate.
On this April 2nd, I’m asking you to be aware. You can wear blue or not, that is not as important as the knowledge that I am asking you to have and hopefully share. Autism is here and it’s here to stay. These people are people, different not worse. If you have a difficult interaction with a person, take a moment. Remind yourself that some people are doing the best they can and they deserve your compassion instead of your scorn.
What’s the worst that can happen? Chances are that you will have patience with a lot of people that do not have autism, but that is okay too. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we all acted with a little more patience anyway? Today is the day to make a resolution to act with compassion just in case. Just in case the person you are interacting with is giving you their best. Just in case the that person has spent their entire life striving to be able to go out on their own and attempt living without a caretaker.
Just in case that person has a mother who is at home worrying every second that someone may lose their patience and get angry with her baby who has come so far and worked so hard. Please be aware. Please be compassionate. Go Blue!
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