Awareness vs. Acceptance

“Aware is halfway there.” I heard this in a workshop today and it resonated with me as a mom of a daughter with autism. Awareness of Autism is huge and I am so glad awareness is being spread daily. But now as the CDC shows that it is now 1 of 49 children have autism, it’s hard not to be aware of it? It is so much more than being aware though. Aware is halfway there. The bigger question is, are you accepting Autism and all that it entails?

What do I mean by accepting Autism? It means not judging when you see a child melting down in a store and maybe even taking a moment to understand what could be causing the meltdown. If you are really brave, even seeing if you can assist the parent. It means understanding that some will have a hard time waiting their turn in a line, being quiet in a movie theatre, or need to wear accessories like chewies and headphones all the time.

As most know, Courtney wears adorable pink headphones ALL THE TIME. They help her with not only noises that she is sensitive to but also managing her anxiety. I swear she has been happier in general since starting to wear them. Though we are trying to find ways for her to cope without them too because we don’t want her to become even more sensitive to noises. I’ve talked a lot about these headphones so you are probably well AWARE of whey she wears them so going to leave it at that. My question is…what were your first thoughts when seeing her school picture? It is very much ok if you first thought, “why didn’t school take the headphones off”. I don’t blame you! Her dad and I both did. But honestly, that is the acceptance part. I think part of reaching the accepting Autism part is being able to look past the differences and accept them for who they are. Courtney wears headphones, that is who she is. As my cousin said to me in a text, that is her accessory. Some wear rubber bands to keep their hair back, some wear glasses to see, some wear hearing aides to hear. Courtney wears headphones to be regulated. I needed a minute when I first saw the picture, but then I saw the picture as it was. A beautiful picture of my little girl! Sitting still, smiling and happy! What more can I ask for?

And that, folks, is acceptance!

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