Autism Acceptance – celebrating the good, whilst also acknowledging the not so good

What does Autism Acceptance Week mean to you?

To me it’s an opportunity to spread some awareness of Autism – our knowledge and also our personal experience, recognising and celebrating the good, whilst also acknowledging the not so good.

Getting this balance is not always easy though. I definitely I go the positives more often and so when I read a personal social media post this week, that very much emphasised the negatives around having an Autistic child, it made me feel very uncomfortable.

I felt for the parent but I felt more for the child that was implicated. And so I didn’t react and I didn’t comment, but scrolled on.

But when I came across the post again today, I noticed all the comments and reactions it had – and every one of them thanked this parent for acknowledging the struggles, in a very real and honest way.

It made me stop and reflect, on how I approach Autism Acceptance Week these days as opposed to the way I may have approached it when I was in the thick of the struggles. The way I felt that one night I sat at the kitchen table feeling completely defeated and deflated – it was my lowest low, although there were many lows. I felt the heaviness in my chest and the weight on my shoulders.

And I realised that all I wanted that night was to be heard, for my efforts to be seen and to feel I wasn’t the worst parent. I didn’t blame my child, I blamed myself.

These days, thankfully, our family struggles around Autism are much less extreme and so it is easier for me to focus on the positives and to celebrate my child’s strengths. But I have to remember the feelings I had 5 years ago.

Celebrating Autism Acceptance Week

And so this Autism Acceptance Week, we certainly celebrate the good, but we also very much acknowledge the struggles. We hear parents and how very hard it can be, we see the way they keep going and surviving and trying for their child, and we feel how painful it can be, to see your child marginalised and dismissed at times. I know all of these feelings and we meet parents here first.

I hope that if you are experiencing these difficult feelings you feel seen and heard. Please also know that seeing the strengths will come too and it will get easier to see the good ahead of the not so good. You are a great parent and you are not alone.

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