Why It No Longer Upsets Me When Young People Abuse The Word “Autism”.
For the last 3 years I've been spreading awareness on what autism is for me and my family. Dian has been nothing but a gift to us and I will forever be grateful to him for encouraging me to be a better and bigger person in life situations. When I look at people my own age and some even younger, I realise how much maturing they have to do, compared to me. We all grow up at different ages, that doesn't mean there's anything wrong with us.
For me, I started growing up instantly after Dian's diagnosis. I wanted to be a protective, loving and trusting sister to Dian, I wanted him to know I'll always be on his side and there for him in times of need. While you may think I missed out on the growing up teenage phase of my life, I didn't I simply experienced it sooner.
I hear and see young people use the words "retard", "autistic" and "handicapped" as if it’s something humorous to call a friend when they make a mistake. But what if someone started using your family’s names to do the exact same thing? "Are you stupid like Michael?" "You're as bad as Sarah" "You're such an idiot like David". If anyone overheard a family member being treated like that, you'd be angry and heartbroken.
When I hear young people abusing the word "autism" to make a joke, it makes me angry. They don’t see the struggles Dian has every day. How helpless I feel when he's having a meltdown. The joy of seeing him finally hit milestones we were told would never happen. But how do I make them see what I experience every day?
You come to a point in your life where you realise you can't change people's perspectives if they don't listen. I can scream and shout at them all day everyday but if they don't listen, they won't change. It's a battle I can't win. But a battle I won't give up on. I will continue to talk about autism. I will continue to share experiences and give people a platform to share theirs. And maybe, just maybe, something I say might change the way they view the word "autism". But until then I won't shut up no matter how many people tell me to.
Thanks for reading.