Every April, we talk about autism awareness. April is autism awareness month, and April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day.
But what happens when April is over? For those of us not directly affected by autism, it can be easy to go on with our lives.
I’ve struggled with this lately. A little over a year ago, my cousin Ashlee’s son Nicky was diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum. Ashlee lives in Lewiston (in western New York), so it’s not easy for me to physically be there for her or her son. I can’t offer hands on help day to day (as much as I wish I could).
So that poses the larger question – how can we really help? On a daily basis, the men and women on the front lines of autism awareness and acceptance are the parents. Even if we can’t physically be there to help them, we have to be their allies in the mission for acceptance.
Last year around this time, I went and got a puzzle piece tattoo (at Pushing Inc Tattoo Emporium in Barrie) and at the same time made a donation to Autism Speaks Canada. Today, I made another donation in my sweet little cousin Nicky’s name
I know that my getting a tattoo won’t help my cousin Ashlee or her son in a concrete way. But my hope is that I can talk about autism and acceptance with anyone who may see it. That when Ashlee sees it, she will know that no matter what I love and accept her little boy. I’ll do everything in my power to spread the message that different doesn’t mean less – not only in the month of April.
To make a donation to Autism Speaks Canada, click here.