“Light It Up Blue” – Autism Awareness Month
Awareness by nature of the word invokes the idea of heightened sensitivity, noticing something new in surroundings, maintaining a sense of curiosity and increased perception . Awareness is an opportunity to become educated in new areas of life.
In this month, which is dedicated to Autism Awareness, I hope that those unaware of autism spectrum disorders and unfamiliar with how individuals with neurological differences present to others, take the time to open their eyes and hearts and achieve a heightened sense of awareness.
This heightened awareness is most crucial in accepting our friends with invisible disabilities, those often categorized as high functioning. To the unaware, they appear “normal” but the social nuance offenses often occur and inevitably cause confusion or intolerance.
If we increase awareness however, upon reflection, the perceptive observer will notice the person behind the shy gaze, the maladaptive tone of voice, the learned responses or the over zealous response to a simple question.
All is takes is a mere fleeting second to consider with new awareness why the nuances of a social situation were “off”. What were the expectations in a social situation that were not met as anticipated and why? Was the encounter interpreted correctly or was there a cloaked exchange requiring a moment of sensitive awareness?
We all know someone deserving of our heightened awareness.
With conscious attention we can recognize talents and unique personality traits instead of perpetuating stereotypes and intolerance.
Be aware that communication comes in all styles.
An individual’s disability may be invisible, but their feelings are very real.
A new friendship full of amazing potential awaits in return.
Social Motion Skills – a program of Easter Seals Greater Houston was founded almost solely based on this reasoning. Teaching children and adolescents with social integration difficulties (autism spectrum disorders, ADHD, language and learning differences) to break through everyday social barriers in order to lead happy, integrated lives.