Matt and I started to reflect back on our journey a few days ago as we began to prepare for Autism Awareness Month and the reflections are overwhelming in a really fantastic way.
Liam has come so far in 2 years, but these past 7 months have been mind-blowing. To think how scared we were to send him to school, to trust someone else to interpret and teach him, to let go of the control and give that to someone else that we don’t know, it’s laughable to compare that to the reality that stands in front of us. Liam has grown in ways he never could have had we kept him at home.
It’s so laughable because it’s nearly impossible to list all the ways he has grown. He is crossing things off his IEP like a champ. He now has a communication device and is doing a fantastic job learning how to communicate with it. He even tells us who his friends are and that he loves school family. (((heart-swell))
It is our hope that through sharing Liam’s story that we can encourage, empower and educate our family and friends about autism so that you can share in the journey of advocacy for those who need our help. As you all know, we don’t want to only be aware in April, but we want to be aware every day.
Imagine you are out in public and maybe see a parent having a difficult time with a child who is melting down. Or maybe you’re at Sapora Playworld and there is a child who looks like they are causing trouble and indifferent to direction. Or maybe you say hi to a little person and he or she looks right past you. It’s in these moments, that you can remember that ((maybe)) that kiddo struggles with something and isn’t being naughty. ((Maybe)) he’s autistic.
Not everyone can wear a stamp on their forehead that says “Hey! I struggle with ________”. We are all so busy in life that it is so easy to be in a rush and then judge and get frustrated, especially with little ones, but let’s do our best to give grace and lend a helping hand to those who seem to be struggling. I know that we would definitely appreciate a smile instead of some of the glares and frustrated or annoyed tones we get when we are out with our kids.
Matt and I are going to share some simple facts this month to help you understand in a more detailed way what autism can look like on a daily basis. One of our favourite sayings in the autism community is “When you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.” It reassures us that Liam is unique in the way he moves through the world, and it also keeps us aware that other children with autism have different struggles and that we need different grace for them than we do Liam.
Thank you friends and family for your prayers and love and support. Knowing that we are not alone and that you want to hear how our brave champion is doing, makes the journey that much sweeter.
Here’s to Autism Awareness Month!