This latest trend of celebrating differences is the most heartening of all the trends in recent years. It’s still hard to join in the celebrations because I have a relationship with special needs that’s not loving or friendly. It’s actually not even one of mutual understanding and cordiality. It’s hostile. It’s sad.
Because my child has autism. And not the high-functioning verbal autism with some cute quirks that make her, her. She has nonverbal autism with learning challenges that are larger than my understanding of autism. How can I celebrate it? How can I not want a child who didn’t have autism and could enjoy life like other ten-year olds?
It’s hard to celebrate something that makes you question whether your child is even enjoying their life. Or if you’re enjoying life like you would’ve if autism didn’t affect it in all its reality.
Not all disabilities can be celebrated without causing some hurt to people who live them and care for them. It is sometimes almost trivializing to think that special needs is so well-accommodated in our society now. It’s not. But may be people who don’t face special needs can’t see that because they’re floored by a news or two of a kind police officer or an emergency room doctor and believe that that’s the general attitude towards autism.
Don’t celebrate us. Know that our struggles are big and singular. They’re unique and need a lot of strength and money. They’re multilayered. We face burnout more and we face financial troubles more too. Just knowing and acknowledging that would make you accept us. Then you won’t have a big celebration of World This Day or World That Day. Then you’d make acceptance a part of everyday. Then you’ll truly be an ally.