Happy Friday beautiful people! Welcome to Things I Know, the easiest Friday meme ever. Because we all know shit.
My Things I Know post is a little different this week, because I want YOU to know about Autism.
Today is a pretty important day to women globally. It’s International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate the achievements and spotlight inspiring women within our global communities.
One of the Australian events today, has my best friend standing up and speaking about her life. The tragedy she has overcome, the achievements she has made, her day to day life living with Autism times three… and the ways she is using all of these things to help other people now and in the future.
I know she inspires me every day. And I know she will inspire every person that attends to hear her speak and listens to her story.
She truly is an amazing person that I am honoured to have in my life. I’m even more honoured to be able to say, “this chick is my best friend”.
Our lives are so opposite in so many ways. I have twice as many kids as she does, but her life living with autism times three makes up for the extra kids. She believes in god, I don’t. She can function on five minutes sleep a night, I need at least six hours. She’s computer illiterate, I can woop her butt with anything computer related. She is educated and knows sooo many big words… I didn’t finish high school, and my vocabulary has her speechless sometimes.
I know one thing we have in common though, and that’s our passion to raise awareness of autism.
The first time I was touched by autism was about twelve years ago. When my friend had a hunch that her exceptionally gifted daughter had traits of something else that made her ‘different’ from all the other kids – including my daughter, who was her daughters best friend.
Reading an article in a women’s magazine one day, a light bulb moment occurred when she read a story about a little boy who was autistic. The traits she read matched her daughter, the intelligence of this little boy mirrored her daughter. The sensory issues… her amazing ability to read at such a young age, the way she found it hard to find her words, the flapping of hands when she was excited or distressed… the meltdowns… oh the meltdowns. Reading the story in that magazine was like reading a story about her own life and that of her daughter. It was the first step into giving that ‘difference’ a name.
My friend and I lost touch when we both moved away from that small village in central New South Wales. But I never forgot her, or the challenges she faced every day living with autism in her life.
And when I moved back near my family and met my new little niece and got to know her, I met autism again.
Unbeknown to my brother whos little girl was perfect in every way in his eyes – and so exceptionally perfect in mine – she was living with autism.
From that first day I could see what my brother couldn’t, or maybe didn’t want to see. The sensory issues… the lack of words. The rocking… The flapping of the arms from frustration at not being able to communicate what she wanted – needed – to communicate.
Everything I had seen before, but he never had.
My best friend is trying to change all that. So everyone knows about autism. Everyone knows the hurdles these kids and their parents deal with every day.
The lack of autism awareness needs to change. Autism needs to be talked about. Early intervention needs to be a priority in getting these amazing kids and adults living with autism the best chance of working through everything that comes with autism.
Since the seed of what is slowly starting to become a reality in my besties life was planted, it has grown at an amazing rate. Her voice is being heard. People are starting to listen.
Autism awareness is growing.
But there is so much more work to be done, and my bestie can’t do it alone. We all need to be a voice, we all need to share what we know about autism.
We all need to be accepting of the ‘differences’, lend a hand when a hand is needed. Stop judging that gorgeous child that is yelling from the other side of the supermarket looking for his mums best friend… He may be loud, but look at his face…
That child is more than you might think he is. He isn’t ‘naughty’, he isn’t a brat playing up on his mum. He’s living with autism. And if you’re lucky like me, and have his little voice telling you he loves you when he finds you in that crowded supermarket, you’ll see why raising awareness is so important.
I know living with autism.
And I know that things have to change. I know we have to make everyone autism aware.
I know this will make the greatest change in so many families lives, and I know I am proud beyond words that my best friend is leading the way in making autism awareness a reality.
What do you know this week?
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