I am a redhead. That was my 'difference' when I was growing up. Red hair was not fashionable 30 years ago and I was called a lot of names. I also always got into trouble because if there was anything going on and I happened to be in the vicinity people always recalled there was a redhead there. So yeah, I stood out, a lot! Rewind to not long before I was born and you would hear such gems as 'beat him as you would a redheaded stepchild'.Charming and all because of a double recessive gene that nobody has control over!
These days red hair is fashionable and my son has never been called names. Once I heard a much older child call him 'Little Ginger' though it seemed to me to be affectionate. I asked Firstborn, later on, if he minded and he said no, the child wasn't being mean. Firstborn also wears glasses and has never been called names for that either. That would have been a goldmine for the bullies when I was young. Firstborn doesn't mind at all that he has red hair or wears glasses, which is good. It shows how much things have changed since I was a child.
There is a reason I am telling you this. I have another child who is 'different'. He has autism. To me HRH is just HRH, but as he gets older he may have to deal a lot worse than I did. I hope not, but it is a possibility. Everybody we know, every single person, knows that HRH has autism. We don't hide it, we are not ashamed in the slightest, quite the opposite, we celebrate him. He is just the most fabulous child. I won't go on a motherly gush on you, don't worry. I am telling you all of this for a reason though, bear with me.
I read this quote over at the lovely Kims' blog, in this post, yesterday. Kim had quoted it herself, it is not her opinion:
"To me anyone not fighting to recover their child might as well push them off a bridge...I am sick to death of excusing those of you who have put your brain injured child in your closet saying there is nothing you can do about it, its just the way things are."
This p*ssed me off, a LOT! For so many reasons. I hate the bridge reference, really, I am speechless about it. I hate the implication that autism is an injury and something to be mourned or fixed. I can see the pain the parent feels, but also I see non acceptance of their child and his 'difference'. How can any child flourish if they aren't unconditionally loved and accepted by their parents?
It is up to us to raise awareness of autism and encourage acceptance in our world. With approx 1 in 110 (the popular statistic) of children being diagnosed with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) we have a lot of work to do to ensure acceptance in our childrens future.
The buck stops with me, you, and you, and you........................
*The introduction using red hair is intended to highlight how society can change in attitude over the years, it is not intended as an actual comparison to autism.