The month of April is Autism Awareness Month. April 2nd is World Autism Day. Both seem to mean different things to different people. So I asked Cadence what she thought it might mean:
“Something people do so other people learn that being different is normal – because not all grown-ups had good parents who taught them that everyone is different; so even though they are grown-ups, they still need to learn that different is normal”.
Her phrasing that sticks with me, “being different is normal”.
There is truth in her words – no two people are the same – we all have different characteristics, different strengths, different challenges, different hair and skin color, different shaped eyes, different personalities and different physical abilities.
‘Autism’, of course, is somewhat more of a difference than say, one’s hair color; and deciphering and engaging in this wonderful world of ours, is, in many cases, more challenging for folks on the Autism Spectrum than those who is not.
I look forward to the remarkable things that can, and will, achieved, when Autism – when perceiving, experiencing and responding to the world differently – is simply seen as a ‘normal’ component of the wide ranging differences that form this wonderful world of ours – which like many differences between people, requires appropriate support, accommodations and respect, to ensure people on the Spectrum, are an active part of humanity, rather than disabled by it.