I am lucky enough to have my birthday the same day as World Autism Awareness Day on the 2nd April. I say lucky as to me, this day helps spread awareness of something that has been part of my life for the last 17 years. Jaidan, my awesome son with Autism has taught me to see the world in a different light and he has been one of my most inspirational teachers I have met. His self-awareness surpasses any expectations that a text book would say is possible. His empathy is core to all his actions and is not absent as experts would lead us to believe. Jaidan communicates in deeper ways that research tells us autistic people do. In Jaidan’s life, social interactions are based on a compassionate drive to accept others as they are. His imagination and flexibility of thought are processed in different ways and are just more concrete than fluid. He could not be more perfect if he tried. If I had a Birthday Wish, it would be for others to understand Autism in the way we have learnt to understand it. I wish others would know that
– Autism is only a part of the person and does not define who they truly are.
– Autism affects everyone differently. Once you have met someone on the spectrum you have not met everyone on the spectrum.
– There is no true stereotype of Autism, just as there is no true stereotype of the Neurotypicals among us.
– Autism doesn’t need to be cured, it needs to be accepted.
– Not everyone with Autism lacks empathy, in fact some research says that people with autism are more empathetic than neurotypicals.
– Processing of information is not faulty, it is just different.
– There are far more similarities between people with Autism and Neurotypicals than there are differences.
– Autism does not stunt dreams. it is the restricted thinking of others that does.
As Jaidan prepares for his next step in life in the summer University programme that he has been accepted for, I am eagerly awaiting what else he will teach me. Awareness of anything in life is best learnt from an original source. I hope that each birthday that I celebrate will be filled with increased awareness of Autism and how it makes a person the true perfection that they are.