“And I said, What about breakfast at Tiffany’s?
She said, “I think I remember the film And as I recall, I think, we both kinda liked it
And I said, “Well, that’s the one thing we’ve got” – Deep Blue Something – Breakfast At Tiffany’s
We are all one big tribe, all wanting to fit in, to have a place, people, somewhere that we can feel safe loved and accepted. In this month, autism awareness month, many of the pages I follow are asking not for awareness but for acceptance.
I love this, I love their thinking but I am looking at them, listening to them and here is what I see. I see Moms, Dads and autistic adults, making memes where they say Autistic Moms deal with this, Autistic Dads deal with this, ASD kids do this, or that. When one person comments, all kids do that, all moms/dads deal with that. All people do that. They get angry; defensive even.
I asked why and I hear the same story over and over, complaints that they have no idea, or that their kids don’t do these things to the extent our kids do. While this is true, to an extent, their kids do still do the same things, those parents are tired, love coffee, need a laugh, feel lost, frustrated and inadequate. WE ALL DO. Yes, they may not get that our kids do them for years longer, or because autism makes things so much harder for them. Still, if they get it, even to a small degree and if you ask me this is a great thing! It is not always simply a dismissal, often this is their way to reach out to you, to say “Hey, I have been there, welcome to my tribe.” Please stop pushing them away, they can’t understand if they are not accepted into our lives. They will never see how amazing autistic people can be, how strong, brave, funny and loving until we allow them to see it.
The world is a crappy place most of the time. I know, many people are simply mean, cruel and out to make them feel better by putting others down. However, not all people are. You will never know until we take a chance.
Next time instead of getting angry, agree. Yes, agree, because they are offering a connection, accepting you, and your child. True, it might not be the way you hope for, or to the extent you want. HOWEVER, it is a start. It is foothold on the gigantic cliff we are all climbing, a way of saying, you’re part of our tribe. Sure, they might never understand it all, but if for even a little while they relate, isn’t that a start? As a parent of an autistic child I live for those little achievements, a new word, a new food an unexpected hug when there wasn’t a hug before. Most of us do, baby steps replace those toddler steps and teen leaps, this is just another baby step towards acceptance, inclusion and maybe even a little understanding.
So many of us fight for inclusion for our kids, we want them invited, accommodated and most of all we want people to see them, the awesome laugh, the way the love with all of their hearts, their ability rather than their disability. We want family and friends to spend time with us, and with them, without having to apologize for our kids, for their differences. When we tell others they don’t get it, we are refusing them the same acceptance we all work so hard for. They are never going to understand everything, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to be friends.
If we want acceptance and inclusion, we have to give it. Let them in, tell them why it isn’t the same if you need to, or just say thanks for understanding. You are not being disingenuous, you are simply accepting them into your tribe. We are all part of the same world, the same tribe, and we all have to live in it together. Give them that in and accept when they offer words of encouragement, when they accept you. They are right all kids do that, maybe not for the same reason, but if you don’t give them a chance to see the difference, they will never understand and they can’t accept if they are not allowed to see what needs to be accepted.
Please stop separating yourself then asking for acceptance.