April is Autism Awareness month and many different pages on Facebook are posting information. I enjoy the diversity of information and opinions from different viewpoints. There are parents, autistic adults and caregivers writing about their experiences, their trials and tribulations. While autism is a central theme, there are many who are dealing with other issues, such as chronic illnesses, single parenthood, or the challenges of finding care when moved across the country or around the world. The posts also discuss how to deal with autism and sometimes there is conflict and differences within the community. Yet, when someone is having a rough day, a day when a person wants to give up, there always seems to be someone willing to speak up and offer encouragement.

I can also see that people who aren’t directly affected by autism display increased empathy and don’t blame parents for children’s difficult behavior. Not everyone understands the issues, but there is definitely an increase in awareness of autism over the last 20 years. As with many things, there is still room for improvement, there are still people who mock the difficulties of parenting an autistic child or harass autistic people but that behavior is not considered acceptable when noticed. On this day of worldwide awareness, I prefer to focus on the positive instead of looking for the negative.

Photos by J.T. Harpster