While April is filled with inspiration and awareness, April will end. We should inspire our society to become better supporters of the autism community. With that being said, we want to share four ways that the autism community can inspire you, to not just applaud what many have seemed to over-come, but how their lives and stories should inspire you to discover who and what you can be-come.
1. Become more Aware
Autism awareness is important, but the type of awareness doesn’t simply acknowledge the existence of autism, but instead seeks knowledge about autism. Autism is a spectrum; so many people are affected in many different ways. Educate yourself about autism by asking questions from the people who are really living with autism. Autism awareness should be about expanding people’s exposure to the life of autistic people. That can’t be done with statistics; it can only be done with stories. Ask questions. Assume nothing. Aspire to become more aware.
2. Become more Accepting
The autistic mind in many ways works differently than a “neurotypical” mind, but the differences should not be used as an opportunity to assume any level of deficiency in those minds that are atypical. Becoming more accepting of autistic people includes accepting all of what makes them who they are. In a world that struggles with intolerance and indifference to those who are different, their hope is to inspire you to realize that often times in order to make a difference you have to be willing to BE different. Autistic minds are very different, but when given the right opportunity they can make a huge difference in the world for the better.
3. Become an Advocate
Never allow your life to be defined by either the applause of your fans or the attacks of your critics. Real inspiration happens when you move from merely being an admirer to being an advocate. Be an advocate for Autism, not because they need a voice to speak for them, advocate because their voice has inspired you to join with so many other voices speaking on behalf of the autism community.
4. Become more Active
Autism awareness is a great start, be inspired to be active and not reactive. Being actively involved in the autism community and their various needs starts by finding meaningful ways to engage in May when Autism Awareness Month is over. Three ways to actively engage in the issues facing the autism community are policies, programs, and platforms. Find out which state, local, national, and insurance policy issues most affect the autism community and find out how to make your voice count as an advocate for those on the spectrum. Research or create programs at the local and national level that are doing work to assist and provide support for autism spectrum individuals and families. Finally, use your platform to educate, empower, and encourage change. Everyone has a platform that they can use to do as much as possible to make an impact. You can’t do everything, but you can do something.
If you really want to be inspired by a story of perseverance, hope and courage, that’s ok, but don’t just be inspired by what they have over-come, be inspired to help our society focus on what it should be-come. Let’s do this together. Let’s change the world.