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Updated: Apr 24

Since April is Autism Awareness Month, letโ€™s talk about autism and how we can raise awareness. I did say in my previous blog that Iโ€™ll be returning with a poem, but for now, letโ€™s press pause on that and comply with the theme of this month ๐Ÿ˜ƒ.ย 

But is raising awareness alone enough? Does that solve the problem of understanding and accepting autism?ย 

While writing this blog, it dawned on me how deeply rooted the issues in our society are when it comes to any disability. And when it comes to autism, it gets more complex as itโ€™s such a wide spectrum with various degrees of challenges and difficulties. From my experience as a mother and a professional working in this sector, I have worked with a wide range of autistic people, and I can certainly say they all have their unique skills and challenges.ย 

Iโ€™m not writing this blog for parents like myself or professionals who work with autistic people, but this blog is for those who donโ€™t have this first-hand experience. I would count doctors, GPs and paediatricians in this category as well because seeing an autistic patient for 20 minutes in a clinic neither gives them a full picture nor the hands-on experience they need to be qualified as an expert in this subject. Medical professionals are excellent when it comes to medical/health issues, prescribing medicines, etc., but when it comes to advice on day-to-day living, behaviour management and hands-on approach, then you are best to consult your childโ€™s school or autism experts (not experts in theory but in practice too).ย 

Now, letโ€™s look at the multiple layers you need to comprehend before you begin understanding and acceptance, as these two concepts go hand in hand. You cannot achieve one without the other.ย 

Just accepting the diagnosis of autism isnโ€™t enough. If you really want to accept autism, you have to be willing to understand it, too. This will only come when you open your mind to observing those who are autistic, listening to them and also listening to their parent/caregiver.ย 

Some people have said they love Afiyah and care for her, but they were unwilling to support me. Such an attitude had a significant impact on Afiyah and me. So, if you say you care for an autistic person, you have to support the autistic person and their caregiver, too, as they both go hand in hand.ย 

Returning to the topic, when you open your mind to understanding autism, you will find yourself in this amazing and beautiful world of autism. Itโ€™s a very challenging place to be but equally rewarding.ย 

Here are the steps you need to takeโ€ฆย 

Open up your mind โญ๏ธย start observing the autistic person โญ๏ธย ask relevant questions to the caregiver โญ๏ธย believe what the caregiver is saying โญ๏ธย if the autistic person is verbal, have conversations with them at their level of understanding โญ๏ธย understand what kind of sensory integration they need โญ๏ธย understand that each autistic person is unique โญ๏ธย if they have challenging behaviours, try to understand the underlying reason behind each behaviour โญ๏ธย once you start understanding the reasons behind behaviours, you can start implementing positive strategies to support them.ย 


Please read my previous blogs about behavioural analysis to make sense of how you can understand behaviour and implement positive strategies.ย 

If you canโ€™t do any of the above, then the least you can do is show compassion and kindness.ย I realise that my blogs are becoming increasingly controversial, but if I want to do justice to โ€˜awarenessโ€™, I have to highlight the issues in our society. We have these issues because people have been conditioned to think in a certain way regarding disabilities. We all change and adapt as time goes on, but when it comes to adapting to new ideas and methods to understand disabilities, people suddenly have a mental block. It doesnโ€™t matter how educated you are; if you are not willing to open up your mind to understand autism, you will never be able to understand autism.ย 

If you would like a deeper understanding of autism, then please join our next workshop. I promise, at the end of it, you will have a wealth of knowledge. Click on the link below and get in touch if you have any questions.ย 

Stay safe and blessed, my beautiful readers, until next time ๐Ÿค—

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