Autism Awareness

Sheryl Lawrence, Austin TX

Autism Awareness  

When I was a young child, I did not realize that my family was not like other families. My family did not go out to eat; we ate the same food for dinner every single night at the exact same time, we never did anything spontaneous or adventurous, we watched the same television shows at the exact same time every day; we had a cemented routine. My life and my family was like this because I have two brothers with autism. 

 

I have a twin who has autism and is nonverbal, and I have an older brother who also has autism and OCD. They are both so different in the way they act and what their abilities are, which is hard to adapt to, but I would not change anything. When I tell people that I have two brothers with autism I get one of two reactions: “Oh! That’s so cool!” or “Oh. I am so sorry.”. This is because most people do not understand the day-to-day of someone who cares for someone with a disability. They made me who I am today, and I would not trade them for any other brothers in the world.

 

I have not held any awareness events for autism, but I am always sure to stand up for people with disabilities. This is something that everyone should be doing because they are never mentioned when people talk about minorities, but many limitations are placed on people with disabilities in our society and it needs to change. Be sure to see how you can help below.

 

Next Steps: How Can You Help? 

 

Tell people who use the R-word to NOT use it! Many people do not know that it was used as a derogatory word towards people with disabilities and tend to use it to simply mean, “stupid”. The more people who ban the R-word in their life, the closer we can be to banning the R-word all together. 

 

Do NOT support Autism Speaks! Autism Speaks is the largest autism advocacy organization in the United States. It sponsors autism research and conducts awareness and outreach activities aimed at families, governments, and the public. However, many people with Autism do not feel like this organization speaks for them. This organization has portrayed Autism as a terrible disease and also that is curable which are two huge misconceptions about Autism!

Here is a video they published in 2009: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9UgLnWJFGHQ

 

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network is a great organization to donate to and volunteer with!

https://autisticadvocacy.org/

 

Special Olympics is another great organization to volunteer with. Many chapters have it set-up where you can volunteer with the kids once a week during practices or once at a competition. This organization is always in need of volunteers, so this would be a great place to spend your time!

https://www.specialolympics.org/

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