April 2nd is World Autism Day, but the entire month is designated as Autism acceptance month, formally known as Autism awareness month. That simple change in wording from “awareness” to “acceptance” makes a significant difference to the families impacted by autism.
Christopher Banks, President and CEO of the Autism Society of America, states, “While we will always work to spread awareness, words matter – the need for acceptance is greater than ever, as we strive for individuals on the autism spectrum to live fully in all areas of life… and we hope that our advocacy efforts can officially designate April as such, and create language consistency across this community.”
Autism is a complex, lifelong developmental disability that typically appears during early childhood and can impact a person’s social skills, communication, relationships, and self-regulation. Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a “spectrum condition” that affects people differently and to varying degrees.
While awareness is important, acceptance is much more critical for everyone to live out their lives to the fullest, whether affected by the diagnosis or not.
- No one wants to be the person eating by himself, and will never forget that new friend that sat down and ate a meal together.
- No one wants to be stared at because they are having a meltdown or are trying to comfort another person, and will treasure the compassionate soul who asks to help or gives an encouraging word.
- And no one wants to be told he will never live out his full potential, or we would have missed out on the contributions of a US president (Thomas Jefferson), a children’s author (Hans Christian Andersen), or a classical composer (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart).
Life is better when we can all live in community together, accepting and appreciating our differences and more importantly our gifts and talents. Show compassion to others because everyone needs to feel this love as we live through the hills and valleys of life.
To learn more about autism, check out the many books and movies on the topic. I’d be happy to share a list with you, just simply sign up for my emails, and I’ll send that right out.
Thank you for being on this journey with us, shedding a different light on disabilities!
1 Corinthians 12:22-27