Acceptance, Awareness, and Understanding: Oh My

So today I began to really think about what it is I want for Emelie in her future. I know we want happiness and for her to succeed in what she chooses to do. Yet, there is this movement for ACCEPTANCE, AWARENESS and UNDERSTANDING of Autism. Do we want them all? If we can only have one, which one do we want most?

Let’s look at the definition of all three:

Acceptance: favorable reception; approval; favor

Awareness: having knowledge; cognizant

Understanding: knowledge of or familiarity with a particular thing; skill in dealing with or handling something; a state of cooperative or mutually tolerant relations between people

I think if you use them together, they go hand in hand. You really can’t have one without the others. Now the level of which they are submerged in our society is the question.

Example: In our community there is a fair awareness of Autism but not necessarily of what it is and how it affects our children. Nor is it understood from the stance of cure/no cure, cause/no cause ect. but I think that can be said within the Autism community itself. Yet, there is an understanding of these kids are and their needs. While, they may need to be explained, there is an acceptance of not just what we need to do for our kids but also the kids themselves.

I recently wrote a blog (Hope Restored) about how the older youth in our community embrace Emelie and don’t give Christian a hard time about his sister. I’ve seen them do this with others as well. There is an ACCEPTANCE that they are all different and have different needs and an UNDERSTANDING that some of them need more and give more and an AWARENESS that I can’t even explain. The youth then lead the adults in how to respond.

You’ve heard trickledown effect. Well, in our case, I think it’s a highway with information and ideas passed from youth back to adults and sparking many conversations. Set aside that challenges like pity, and discussions on cause and cure and I think we can find common ground in and out of the autism community and find that these kids can be Accepted, Embraced and Understood with an ounce of patience and lots of dialogs on both sides with judgments set aside.

The question remains, are both sides willing to set aside preconcieved notions of how the other will respond and come to the table to bring about the necessary dialogs? I hope so. I think it’s going to happen and it’s going to be the youth leading the way.

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