Once again April is upon us and while it brings the thought of spring time, it also reminds us as a community how important it is to address the subject of Autism. While some of us discuss Autism all year long for many April is the one time of year when society discusses Autism; how does it happen, why does it happen and what can we do to not only be aware of Autism but to accept all forms of neurodiversity. These are all valid discussions but let’s not forget those who have yet to be diagnosed. In spite of what the statistics say, I believe there are many more children and adults who are never diagnosed.
We’ve all seen other children or adults who struggle with Autism like behavior, but for whatever reason they are or were unable to receive early intervention. We all know the importance of early intervention to assist anyone with special needs; the reality is that not everyone who needs it will be given the opportunity to benefit from it.
My hope is that as a society, we not only look at all those who have been diagnosed but we do not ignore those who haven’t. Don’t forget about those you might see in your child’s school, in the market, at a sporting event, the mall and the list goes on and on! If you see a child or an adult struggling to navigate in a social situation show some compassion for them. Maybe they are having a bad day or they have yet to be diagnosed with a disability and receive the necessary help they desperately need; we can offer assistance instead of judgment.
April is Autism Awareness month, but I think we should add the word Compassion as well. Wikipedia defines it this way, “Compassion is the understanding or empathy for the suffering of others. It is regarded as a fundamental part of human love, and a cornerstone of greater social interconnection and humanism —foundational to the highest principles in philosophy, society, and personhood."