I've decided, for me, today is to celebrate the accomplishments and progress my three incredible children who just so happen to have autism have made over the years.
He's also an awesome cat wrangler.
I celebrate my 10 year old daughter who is exuberant, loves Sponge Bob above all else, and has just begun to really play with toys in an imaginative way and finally begun to ask questions, which have revealed that while she is brilliant and advanced, she also has huge gaps in information we all take for granted, like where her thigh is located and what a traffic light is called (no kidding). She delights in recognizing and pointing out when someone is being sarcastic or using a metaphor, every time she catches it, never failing to make us smile along with her, as she offers her big Sponge Bob grin.
And my Rosie, who gives hugs as presents but refuses kisses, who chews her hair when it's long enough to do so, her clothes when it's not, who screeches like a banshee when something sets her off, but cuddles in my lap for hours.They face their challenges and issues with humor and courage each and every single day. They fight to overcome or find workarounds for their challenges, and they do it because they believe they can.
Celebrate the potential, the value, the uniqueness of autistic individuals and then get busy fighting to make sure they have the support and the resources they need to reach their potential, to be respected and valued as they are, to have access to appropriate education, to satisfying work, and to safe living, learning, and working environments. They deserve more than one day a year to be welcomed and included.