Neurodivergence

AWE-tism Acceptance – SPECIAL!

I am taking a break today from my series on PDA, Pathological Demand Avoidance. Because something I saw yesterday made me stop…and I wanted to share that with you.

Yesterday, I saw the realization of my dream for AWE-tism…the world as I hope that it one day will be…ACCEPTANCE at its best…

Unfortunately, it was only a television show. But HUGE kudos to Sesame Street for the powerful way that they introduced Julia, the new muppet with autism. But see for yourself…

I did not just want to share this powerful video with you…but within it is hidden the most powerful message for NTs. Neurotypicals…’normal’. That’s right we have a word for you…NT. How does it feel to be labelled?

But labelling is not the message. I want you to re-watch the video now…paying special attention to how the human adult Alan manages the muppets/children.

Here is the message…

Talking about autism (or any other difference) is not a sin!

In fact, ignoring it…pretending you did not hear or see when your naturally inquisitive child comments on those differences…making us invisible…is a problem.

I am a huge believer in inclusion. But I would not place PanKwake back in school because they would want her in mainstream…inclusion. Does that sound hypocritical? It is not. Because here is the secret that the world and schools have not learned…

True inclusion and especially acceptance does not just happen.

It takes the kind of compassionate, patient and nonjudgmental intervention and support that Alan shows in this video. It takes being as honest and open with children as we can be…at their level of understanding.

The nasty thing about human nature is that we fear anyone who is not like us…we are threatened by them…it is the root cause of war and much of the other human pain too.

PanKwake has always had an innocent curiosity about others who are different. When we were in London and travelled on busses, she would often comment about this person with a birth mark or that one in a wheelchair. I did not hush her.

Instead I taught her to speak directly to that person…with respect. To ask…something along the lines of…

Excuse me, Sir, but I notice that you…then she could ask why. And then she would go on to explain that she was different too.

I think only once in all that time was she ever rebuffed. Most people WANTED…perhaps even needed…to talk about themselves.

You see there is something worse even than a child’s innocent whispers…

It is being ignored!

When we take PanKwake out in her special needs buggy, people almost always stare. Even babies. Especially babies and toddlers. In their little minds, buggies are for them…not big kids.

It has at times been one of my hot buttons. Especially one day when this woman had the audacity to say…You’re a big girl. You don’t need a buggy.

I admit…I went off on that woman. I snapped. I told her about PanKwake’s epilepsy, how she tires out easily and her autism. Then I finished with…

So the next time you see a child her age in a buggy, think before you speak. Because I promise you that they or their parents are not lazy. No parent puts themselves or their child through the thoughtless stares and comments of strangers for no reason.

That poor woman walked away in tears. And PanKwake rebuked me. My seven year old AWE-tistic daughter got it more right than I did…

Mommy, that lady was not mean. She just did not understand.

Oh, and the woman came back, she turned around and walked back to us. She apologized.

But there was an even more hurtful time. We were waiting at the lights for the walk signal. And this woman with three or four small children, the oldest of which was staring at a sleeping PanKwake in her buggy. That woman squeezed her child’s hand and spoke something in their language…and they turned their backs on us. Like we did not exist. And all I could think was…that is what is WRONG with society.

No, watch and re-watch that video. See how Alan talks with the muppets….how he gives them permission to accept Julia…and ultimately permission to accept themselves…their differences…

Then please if you do nothing else this month…sit down and watch that video with your child…

Talk about AWE-tism!

Because the one thing worse than being different is ignorance!

#AWEtism #Acceptance!!!

diaryofanimperfectmum
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