We use that word all the time, for so many reasons, it has been diluted and misconstrued.
So, April is Autism Awareness Month. But, what does that mean?
More importantly, what do we hope to gain with all of this awareness?
For me, awareness is about opening your eyes and your mind to the complexity of something, rather than believing your initial reaction or societal stereotypes.
In many cases, this means allowing yourself to be wrong, accepting new information and letting go of your own preconceptions.
Now, what do we hope to gain from all of this awareness?
I think that's a very personal question. Not personal in the sense of intrusion, but personal in the sense that each person has their own answer.
For me, I hope that people take the time to understand the issues, rather than just listen to the news.
I hope they find beauty in the many autistic people out there, rather than simply focusing on a cure.
I hope the efforts and services double/triple/quadruple due to the knowledge gained by becoming aware of the hourly challenges faced by autistic households.
I hope businesses open their doors to autistic adults and find more jobs for them.
I hope schools receive more training and our teachers additional support.
I hope my daughter will be accepted wherever she goes...as an individual, as a contributor, as much more than special needs.
I hope her future is just as bright as any other child's.
Awareness...such a powerful thing.