By Leah Doyle
As we close out April, Autism Acceptance Month
– it’s just another day, another month to most. In our house we wear blue and we celebrate, and we do what we can to add more kindness into our lives.
My daughter was referring to April as Social Awareness Month. I haven’t heard that before, but I liked it. There may be some truth to it, or some official title, maybe something she heard in school. Either way, it’s a great way to think of April and a great way to explain it to young children.
April for me is a reminder, maybe a pause for checks and balances, to remind me that I need to show kindness and grace to all people. People who don’t look like us, talk like us, think like us. I have said for many years that autism is a superpower, for those diagnosed, for many reasons. But it’s also a superpower for those of us around ASD (autism spectrum disorder). You can’t help but think differently and see how others think as unique, sometimes smarter, sometimes better, and acknowledge that there is more than one way in most cases, to think about something or to do something. You have NO choice but to adapt to this thinking. It’s a powerful practice. It makes you humble and it makes you more patient. It’s a gift, that I wish for everyone, to find in some way in their lives.
We all have challenges, and we all have strengths. I’m truly blessed that in my industry, I get to meet extraordinary people that have stories of triumph, or success, or happiness, that usually started with tragedy or adversity. These people faced challenges, and they speak about them to help others. I watch people every day listen to speakers and embrace their challenges, see their strengths, give them a standing ovation, and often shed tears. I see people finding reasons to have hope, people finding strength, and people finding gratitude. Whichever of those they needed, it’s a gift.
I often think about these amazing speakers on stage, and what they might have been like while they were going through their hard times or their tragedy. Were people as kind to them? Someone was. There is usually a person that helped or changed their lives. Every successful person has someone to thank. Every happy person has someone that showed them love.
Autism Acceptance Month is coming to an end, but it’s not too late to add kindness, acceptance, and social awareness to your day. Every day. I believe there are many times in a day that you can give one of these gifts to someone, including yourself. My challenge to myself is to not need April to remind me to do it. My challenge to you, whether you wore blue this month in support of autism or not, start today to honor social awareness, and be kind. To everyone. Be that person who helps someone else find success or happiness, it will get you out of bed every morning, and I bet you will find success and happiness yourself.
Written by Jenna Jorge
President, Goodman Speakers
Written by Leah Doyle