“If you’ve met one person with autism,
you’ve met one person with autism.”
~~ Stephen Shore
It is April 2 – World Autism Day. I’m paraphrasing some words from others within my circle of family and friends that I’ve been reading, absorbing, and building upon in my mind all day.
As with other communities of people who have to work hard to be fully themselves in the world, I think we need to move past awareness, past acceptance, and work toward understanding neurodiversity. Society, culture, community is hard enough for the neurotypical. For those whose brains are wired in the non typical fashion, it can be a tumultuous daily roller-coaster.
Pausing and working through the attempt to comprehend another human being’s challenges in the world has impacted my capacity for compassion. Every person I’ve ever met whose challenges differ from my own has expanded my understanding of the breadth of what it means to be human.
In the past several years my circle has grown to include many people with a wide variety of struggles that make everyday life more challenging than it should have to be. Sometimes it is because they themselves face hurdles. Sometimes it is people who have loved ones in their live for whom daily tasks create their own insurmountable odds.
Exercising empathy. Learning, appreciating, and trying to make the world an easier place for others to live has impacted the way I try to live in the world. As Yoda would point out, the very act of trying has changed the way I live in the world.
I’m not perfect — by any stretch!
I miss things. I carry unconscious social biases that weigh me down and creates its own obstacles. The important thing is to continuously try to get past those biases in order to be the change you want to see in the world.
I’ll end with a recommendation.
I discovered and began following the author and comic creator Amber Johnson today. Some of her work can be found via the collective ArtAutism on Twitter and Facebook. Her wonderful writing and art helps identify some of the challenges for the neurodiverse. I hope you’ll take my recommendation and go look at her comic as I did this morning.
342 Days to go.