As April and Autism Awareness month roll on, I have really noticed that it is amazing how people can help each other. I have been spending every minute that I have to myself online reading the thoughts, wisdom, and challenges of others around the world. Autistics, parents, researchers, you name it. It is truly incredible, inspiring, and thought-provoking. I am growing, seriously growing, and my goal of becoming an amazing, educated, know-what-I’m-talking-about, autism mama is morphing into a passion.
It turns out there is a lot to learn! Ha! I know! Those of you out there who have gone before me are laughing. I knew I didn’t know things. I had no idea how much there is to learn.
I am incredibly thankful to these people, real people, out there, in the real world, sharing their revelations, thoughts, experiences, and ideas with me. I don’t know them. They are just giving, opening their lives and minds to the world, and oh! It’s a community! It’s people like me! Like Jake! Like our family!
I have found great inspiration in blogs from other moms. I have read hours of stories of their struggles and victories, their hopes and their experiences. Equally inspiring are the words of adults on the spectrum, who have shared their stories. I have devoured books and combed blogs. The words of the people who live with autism are awe inspiring.
What’s more, they are friendly.
There is a real, authentic community of people growing that is welcoming and kind. It is hopeful and encouraging. It uses words I need to wrap my head around and get used to, but I know now will become an easy part of my vocabulary in time. Things like neurodivergency and stimming, autistic and proud. The following was written by one such autistic, and it is resonating deeply with me.
“I’m not alone” doesn’t have to be an adulthood revelation; it can be a given. Your child deserves to grow up knowing that he isn’t alone, that there’s a whole community that will embrace him because he’s one of ours.
– You, Yes, You, Need Autistic Friends, Neurodivergent K
I am going to be a part of this community. Jake is going to be a part of it. He will not be alone, he will not be a minority, and he will have a voice, and a place where he is among others like him. Where he is not different. Not special. That is funny to me. And wonderful. There are many places where he will be special. Where he cannot help but be noticed. Where he is a minority. But out there, in the internet, there are more of our people.
Thank you people.
Our authentic community surrounds us. I am adding our stories to the rest, sharing education with those I know personally and those who now read this out there online. What an incredible thing.