It's April again and it's the autism awareness month again. I am dealing with autism since last two years. And I have learnt a lot!! I am still learning though.
The reason I am writing this note is because like every other mother of an autistic child, even I feel how little people know about autism. "Autism is a serious developmental disorder that impairs the ability to communicate and interact." This is how google defines it.
But frankly, it's much more than just "not being able to communicate". Lot of people misinterpret autism as mental retardation. But these two disabilities are quiet different from each other. I won't get into the details of the differences. But bringing up an autistic child gets quiet challenging for parents. Few of the reasons could be
-> Financial challenges (therapies and treatments being quiet expensive)
-> Physically trying (if you have to handle a 10 year old boy who behaves like a 4 years old)
-> Peer pressure/ Social pressure
-> to find the right doctors and right therapies which will suit your child
->The biggest of all challenges is ACCEPTANCE. Generally an autistic child/adult will always appear to be as a normal human being who behaves weird. So parents or families find it difficult to accept that the child might have some issues and does need help.
Since its a neurological disorder, people often misinterpret autistic individuals as rude, disobedient, ill mannered, etc. Its sad as autistic individuals are already dealing with a lot of things within. They need help in smallest of the things which is probably peanuts for a normal human being.
Often people have heard of autism or any other disability, but they don't know how to address the families and individuals who are dealing with it. With my personal experience I can say that when I or my child receives a normal response from others(like how you would treat a mother or a parent of your child's friend), it makes me happy and feel good about the fact that I am bringing up my kids in the right kind of environment. Ofcourse the response that you get from an autistic individual might seems as though they are just not listening, or not interested or may be they don't understand your gesture at all. The fact is that they do understand you. They simply don't know the right way to reciprocate. The only language they understand easily is love. If they receive warm and loving gestures from others irrespective of their "not so apt" behaviours, they do evolve as beautiful human beings.
I feel it's very important for us to make our coming generation sensitive towards such individuals. Autism is increasing at a very fast rate in the society. Acceptance and awareness is very less. Awareness will help the new parents to take the right action at the right time for their child. For those of us who have blessed kids will know how to help autistic people in the smallest little way. Your smallest gesture itself will make a lot of difference.