Autism is Awareness
The great mystery, and transformational power of autism.
For years I’ve been wearing this “Autism Awareness” wristband to bring more awareness to autism. My younger brother, Justin, is an autistic adult who cannot speak (common language)— and it’s so helpful to have people understand his condition.
However, I recently had the idea that maybe the opportunity here is less about being aware of autism — and perhaps to recognize that autism is a form of awareness that many cannot even comprehend.
What if the key to helping our autistic brothers and sisters is really about you and I becoming more conscious and aware?
To provide some background and a shared definition, approximately 1 in 59 children is on the autism spectrum today. That’s essentially how many humans speak Japanese to reference a fairly common language and unique culture. WebMD describes autism as:
“A complex neurobehavioral condition that includes impairments in social interaction and developmental language and communication skills combined with rigid, repetitive behaviors.
Children with autism have trouble communicating. They have trouble understanding what other people think and feel. This makes it very hard for them to express themselves either with words or through gestures, facial expressions, and touch.”
Now let’s talk about the challenges autistic children and adults face with communication and understanding what other people feel and think. Imagine being in a foreign country where the language, environment and all social cues are incomprehensible.
You ask for basic things like where is the grocery store, can I have some water, or I need a doctor — and no one is able to help you. Pretty frustrating? Extremely.
My brother Justin clearly is conscious and knows his needs and preferences. He’ll make that very clear to you in his own way. Sometimes through loud noises, body language, or PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System).
This leads me to my point around awareness. What if we need to be studying the language, optimal environment and social cues of the autistic boy and girl vs. them adapting to industrial “higher-functioning” humans? Maybe we’re the ones who could become more conscious, insightful and caring through the process.
I can say with full belief that our family has transformed through our experience with autism. There is no doubt that we are all substantially more present, thoughtful and aware because of Justin. My personal desire to work hard, give back, understand others and cultivate human connection is because of my brother. He is truly my greatest teacher.
In the near future I’d like to live in a world that fully integrates and accepts our special needs community. This is not only right, but I’m confident it will unlock the love, compassion and inspiration we need to fix the immense problems we’re facing on this planet.
We’ve seen ancient tribes embrace all members with great intention and respect. Everyone had a role and unique contribution to make. Maybe this is part of the full circle equation to spiritually wake us all up.
We’re truly an interdependent species and the only future worth building includes everyone. Let’s make more time to learn from our autistic peers — listen to what they need and make an effort to connect.
Thank you for taking time to read this post. Interested in getting involved in the autism community, meeting my brother or have an idea to share? Please email me at Erik@Rende.Today ❤