Ways You Can Help Promote Autism Awareness
You may be aware of April being Autism Awareness month. April 2nd is known as World Autism Awareness Day and Light It Up Blue. All around the world, buildings, homes, and people will light it up and wear blue in honor of someone with Autism. While we have come a long way with raising awareness, we still have a little ways to go.
Autism awareness has come a long way, but there still is not a cure or a one-size-fits-all way of treating Autism. Children with autism suffer from poor eye contact, impulsive, learning disabilities, speech delay, problems paying attention, and emotional disconnection to name a few. Each person is different, and depending on where a child is on the spectrum will determine the severity of each issue. When I think of my twins, they are on the opposite ends of the spectrum, different in so many ways.
I’m to the point where awareness has been raised, and now we need to work on more acceptance. However, we need to work on integrating both “a” words for the betterment of our children.
Here are a few ways where you can help promote Autism Awareness:
Wear a Puzzle Ribbon or a Blue T-Shirt
The official Autism Awareness ribbon is a puzzle pattern. Although many may wear blue, a puzzle pattern gives a full explanation of the complexity of the disability. Wearing a puzzle ribbon is a great way to promote awareness because it makes an excellent opportunity to explain to others what the ribbon stands for. The different colors and shapes represent the diversity of the disability and the many different people and families it affects. The puzzle itself represents how complex the disability actually is, and the bright colors represent hope. I personally prefer to wear a cool t-shirt, like this one: Autism Awareness T-shirt Captain Autism T-shirt
Join autism support groups, or create one yourself. Facebook pages like Autism Awareness are great tools to sharing what you know, learning what you don’t know, and accepting what you don’t understand. If you don’t know someone with an Autistic child or who has Autism themselves, check out some groups and learn what it is like. Awareness and understanding will help bring acceptance. You can also walk or run for Autism. This is a great way to find other Autism Parents, relatives and friends connected with Autism.
Talk About It
It is absolutely impossible to build awareness and acceptance if we keep our struggles to ourselves. In any and every opportunity explain to someone what it’s like to struggle with someone who has Autism. The more we talk about it, the more people will understand and accept it as a part of this life. More people will know how to act and how to respond. Sometimes this is hard, especially on social media. From time to time, I talk about the struggles of the twins on my Facebook page. However, because I don’t want to “put their business” out there, I don’t share everything. And because each child on the spectrum is different, it can be hard for even other Autism Parents to get exactly what you are going through with your child(ren).
Whether it is a facility, community outreach, or get together, connect with others in the community. Many Autism Society affiliates hold special events and programs for Autism Awareness month. Find out how to get involved. If you can’t find an event in your local community, create one! You can use the event section on Facebook to create your event and find other people in your community to invite. You would be surprised how many hundreds of people will thank you for showing awareness in the community and letting others know they aren’t alone.
Share on Social Media
From Twitter and Facebook to Pinterest and Instagram, social media is perfect grounds for promoting awareness. Share facts about Autism, share stories, nominate an awesome mom with an autistic child or start a campaign like the ice bucket challenge. The only way to build acceptance is to build awareness by getting our voices heard. So, let your voice be heard on every social media platform. You can also come and follow me and other Autism contributors on my Autism Pinterest Board. You will find great ideas, stories and inspiration from other Autism Parents. Another place to look for other Autism Parents is on Facebook. You can find groups devoted to Parents of Autism, people with Autism, resources for Teachers and more. I am involved in a few local Autism groups for Michigan. I have been able to connect with other Autism Moms here in the Mid-Michigan area, and we meet up monthly for a Mom’s Night Out.
Funding can only go so far and many times some of the less severe cases go without any help or support because the family can’t afford it. Help change the lives of those who are impacted by Autism by donating to the Autism Society or other local non-profit organization. It’s the gift that counts not the money you spent; every penny counts.
Educating yourself to understand what Autism is all about, is one of the best ways you can help a person and their loved ones. Many times people think children are acting out, being bad, need a spanking, etc, when they don’t really know or understand that child is having a sensory overload moment. Just by reading this post, it shows you are ready to learn more about what Autism is, and how you can help others. If you’re ready to learn more about Autism, head over HERE to the Autism section of our blog to read more about Autism.
Whether your child has Autism or you know someone who has Autism, make April a month to combine forces and spread the awareness to build acceptance, opportunities, and programs to help all those impacted by Autism!
Do you have suggestions or ways to help promote Autism Awareness? What do you think about moving towards promoting more acceptance vs. awareness? Feel free to leave me a comment below, I would love to hear from you!