The Autism Society of America started Autism Awareness Month in April 1970. The growing awareness of the many problems that autism poses for individuals and families has led to constructive action. As a community and as a society, we are moving beyond awareness to acceptance and appreciation. The main question I ask families at this time of year is what does autism mean to you now? To individuals with autism who can describe their journey, I ask what have parents and professionals done that is most helpful?
Here is a recent article I wrote for Autism Society.
“The road to acceptance routinely starts with some level of denial. Our biggest problem is that we don’t want any problems, and we think we would be happy without them. If we can’t solve problems, how can we live day to day? We start out as individuals and as a society denying a problem exists or when we do acknowledge a problem, we often deny how serious it may be.
I became a typical father in 1979. It was a dream come true—those magical first smiles, first steps, first words. Like most children with autism, my son’s early development seemed perfectly normal. I have a photo in which he made eye contact at 1 day old. He met his other milestones on time. Then in 1981, Tariq stopped talking, stopped playing normally, and began flapping his arms and pacing endlessly.” Read the entire article