Autism Acceptance Month

Mr. L learning how to change a lightbulb.

For those of you who haven’t heard, April is autism awareness month, or better said, autism acceptance month. But for some reason, instead of this bringing an outpouring of teaching, sharing or celebrating, this seems to bring out a whole lot of arguing. People want to use this month to debate therapies, labels, and symbols, which I just find odd.

The thing about autism is that everyone on the spectrum is a person, which then in fact makes them unique. So why would anyone assume that only one therapy is the way to go, or better yet why would anyone declare a therapy that didn’t work for them personally terrible for everyone?

Yes, I’m talking about ABA therapy. And yes I know the history of ABA therapy. The creator of Applied Behavioral Analysis was inhumane and the first attempts were nightmarish. But it has come a long ways, and today can be life changing for many.

Honestly, today there are good and bad therapists everywhere, including in ABA. There are bad ones that withhold comfort, love, and even food and bathroom breaks and those are NOT ok. Good therapists build a friendship and use toys, games, dancing, being silly, bubbles, and sometimes candy to teach life skills. Good therapists do not remove stimming, they embrace it and love the person even more because of it.

Mr. L and Mr. C looking out for Little Miss A.

But putting that one problem aside. People want to argue about labels. Isn’t that a personal thing that you shouldn’t press on others? Maybe I want to be Mrs. or Ms. or maybe I want my family to call me, Star kissed Daisy… What difference should that make to others as long as I’m not attacking anyone?

I’m talking about “autistic” vs. “having autism” AND “autistic parent” vs. “parenting a child with autism”. Why do people care what others want to be called? You do you, and don’t harm others ok? Thanks 😉

Right now we usually say our son has autism, but some day if he wants to change that to being autistic, that’s cool. I know people that like to be called autistic because they may be officially diagnosed or self diagnosed. That’s fine, and I respect that.

Then there are puzzle piece haters and those who really resonate with the symbol. Here’s the secret, symbols mean different things to different people. If I like the symbol of a rainbow puzzle piece, that doesn’t mean I think part of autistic people are missing. In fact I have never met someone with autism that I didn’t find endearing and or beautiful.

Mr. L showing me his Number Blocks.

I would like people to focus more on accepting those who are different from them. Giving grace to those they don’t understand. I want people to help find therapies for those searching, and connect services to those in need. So ABA didn’t work for you? That’s ok. That type of therapy might work for a child who needs it to learn how to communicate their pain in the future in a child’s hospital. So don’t take ABA away from that family. ABA may teach a teenager how to deescalate so they don’t get shot by a cop. But ABA didn’t work for you? Again, that’s ok, I want you to find what does work for you. Because I want you to be happy. I want happy, successful, fulfilled people.

Why are people hating on other people’s answers they have been looking for? You like the puzzle piece and feel like it means you are committing your life to helping someone you love who has autism? Then get that tattoo, those earrings, or that autism loving dad t-shirt for your partner.

Awareness or acceptance months should be about teaching others and working towards making things easier and better for those in need. Focus people, stop dividing over the little things and stop hating. Amen.

I came across this heart breaking story of a teen who had autism and couldn’t communicate his needs. He couldn’t breath and he was in pain, and devestatingly lost his fight. If you are up for a story that will pull at your heart strings and make you focus a little more on the important things. Then please read this link below. 🌹

https://kreedsworld.blogspot.com/2016/08/it-took-three-months-to-finally-tell.html?m=1&fbclid=IwAR2JkZGLMDnKbZ-yr-FDo7n95D8Kzi1y3CDHZM82a-36gyyggaWQZwevz5k

5 comments

  1. Thank you for sharing this important message. It does sound very frustrating when people try to argue about things like therapy approaches and labels – when everyone has their own approach that works best for them. I think, as you said, the important thing is to focus on the overall advocacy and raising awareness and encouraging acceptance.

    I don’t think I can read that article at the bottom. It’s already such a gray day over here. I don’t think I can take something so heavy and heartbreaking today. Maybe another time! 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Such a great post, Rachel. It’s sad when people argue about these kinds of things because different things work for different people. And the article about Kreed really had me choking up. May he rest in paradise! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Oh, I like the idea of calling it autism acceptance month! Awareness is a good starting place, but as you’ve experienced, people who are aware can also be unaccepting of choices that differ from their own. I hope someday we can get to a place where people can choose the labels, strategies, and metaphors that fit them without harsh criticism.

    Liked by 1 person

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