April. When we think of April, we tend to think of spring, Easter, and lots and lots of rain. I for one think of April in an entirely different way. To me, April is one of the most important months. Why? It's Autism Awareness Month!
What is autism you ask? Well, my mom told me when I was a kid that autism causes your brain to work differently than others. I had always asked why my brother was different from my sister and I, but I never understood why.
The real definition of autism is this: "Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences" (autismspeaks.org).
Now, that can be a whole lot of gibberish to you if you don't really understand what autism is. Let me break it down for you. Autism causes a lack in ability to communicate with others effectively. For example, when my brother is upset, he can't tell us he is upset. Rather, he acts out emotionally or physically. Sometimes he flaps his hands and makes loud noises. Sometimes he repeats videos he's seen on the internet or scripts Disney movies.
You understand it now? Good!
In April, the world celebrates autism. We celebrate the amazing people autism has given us. Though having a child, friend or sibling with autism can be difficult, it's always wonderful.
Now your next question may be why is this so important to you? Good question.
My entire life, I've struggled taking my brother out in public. I've always been worried about how he will react to the stimuli in the room we're in or the people we're around. I hated how people would stare at him like he was a freak. It made me resent them. How could they not see that this wonderful person I'm with is the light of my life? Can't they just mind their own business?
Well, the whole point of this month is to raise awareness. That's why it is so important to me. Maybe if people were more aware about what autism is, they wouldn't stare too much. Maybe if people were more aware about what autism is, they'd be more understanding when he has an episode in public.
So I encourage you to raise awareness of autism. Not just this month, but every month! Someday, people will be more understanding, and I believe that one day, maybe not in my lifetime, they will find a cure for autism.