One of my favorite concepts/tools in Al-Anon is the Three A’s (Awareness, Acceptance and Action). This excerpt from an Al-Anon Online Forum explains it perfectly:
“In dealing with a change, a problem, or a discovery, awareness is often followed by a period of acceptance before we can take action. This process is sometimes referred to as the “Three As”- Awareness, Acceptance, and Action. Coping with a new awareness can be extremely awkward, and most of us are eager to spare ourselves pain or discomfort. Yet, until we accept the reality with which we have been faced, we probably won’t be capable of taking effective action with confidence.”
I have been a Proud and Thankful member of Al-Anon for 1.5 years now. As I work my program to transform myself into the woman I want to be, I see so many ways to apply our program to Autism and the Special Needs world. In Al-Anon we learn to Love, Value, and Care for ourselves. Despite whatever we have faced in life, and how low our self-esteem may be, we learn that we Matter. Many of us who have been touched by the disease of Alcoholism, have extremely low self-esteem, and truly feel that we are broken and worthless.
I would not wish these horrible feelings of self-hate and self-doubt on anyone. For this reason, some of the verbiage and attitudes which surround the Special Needs Community fill me with immense sorrow. Often when we feel passionately about something we tend to Speak/Type before we Think. We do not stop to consider the ramifications of our words for our children, or others who have Autism. There are many Autistic children who hear, and even more Autistic teens and adults who read, on a DAILY basis that they need to be fixed, cured, recovered and even prevented in future generations. Can you fathom what that does to a person’s self-esteem? Can you even imagine how that must feel, and how that message affects Autistic people everywhere?
It is time for a new, more loving light to be shed on Autism. The verbiage and attitude with which we discuss our Autistic loved ones, is how the world will view them and their peers; therefore, we must be ever vigilant to make sure we are Honest, while also being Respectful. Please let us stand together as a community, embrace all facets of Autism, and create a brighter future filled with Respect and Appreciation for ALL individuals. Our way to do that is by applying the Three A’s to Autism.
Autism Awareness – The first step is to make people aware of the Truths of Autism, and dispel many of the detrimental myths.
I am surprised by how many people we meet that have either no, or completely inaccurate knowledge of Autism, and how it can affect a person’s neurological system. Some people ask questions and others simply walk away. There are so many teachable moments in a day, which we miss because many people don’t want to talk about Autism, and they treat it as something to be hidden away. Autism is certainly not easy, and for some it is much more difficult than others, but if we are open and honest about it, then society will see that it is an intricate part of our loved ones, and it should be spoken of freely with Pride. Next time you are out in public or you post online simply be honest, and share something about an Autistic person, from a place of Love and Respect. Put Autism in the spotlight EVERYDAY, not just on April 2nd or for the month of April, embrace it as a typical part of our life and be the change we want to see in the world.
Autism Acceptance – The second step is to promote Respect for ALL individuals, by showing the world how to embrace diversity and value Autistic people for their unique abilities.
We cannot tell others what to think about Autism, how to feel about Autism, or how to care for their Autistic loved ones. We cannot force society to interact with Autistic people in a Loving and Respectful manner. Autism is a vast Spectrum, which confuses many people since no two Autistic people are the same; therefore we must share Our Journeys and Experiences with others, so that people can truly understand that Different is NOT Less. Personally, we attempt to always conduct ourselves in a manner which we can be Proud of, and not judge those who possess a different outlook on life. When we do something that does not coincide with our values, we take responsibility and make amends. We strive to instill a sense of Faith, Love, Respect, Courage, and Compassion in our children. We Respect Our children and are realistic about their abilities. We love them unconditionally, and support them in every aspect of life; however, we also challenge them to step outside their comfort zone and explore the infinite possibilities in life. We do the best we can for Our family, and treat everyone we meet with the consideration we would appreciate; we attempt to be the change we want to see in the world.
Autism Action – The third step is to advocate for ALL people, especially those in the Autistic community, to be treated with Thoughtful Consideration at ALL times.
How people choose to take action will differ. We all have our own way of assisting our Autistic loved ones in reaching their God-given potential, while educating others on the best way to interact with them. There is no right or wrong way to take action, simply do what is best for your family, and the rest will follow. We should remember that the road to success is paved with Progress NOT Perfection. Personally, we are very involved in our Autistic daughter’s education and therapies, because communication between everyone in her life is essential to maintaining a healthy balance in her development. We also make sure that she has more than ample time to just be a kid, the sillier the better. We mainly concentrate on teaching both our children the basics of life, with our own Au-Some style. We work on all the areas other parents do, we simply approach those lessons differently some times. When we are presented with a teachable moment with someone who crosses our path, we take the opportunity to share parts of Our Journey. We attempt to emphasize the positives, of which there are many, when discussing Our Autistic Journey with people. We admit that our path can be difficult, and is often quite different than other roads traveled; however, we also experience numerous joys that others tend to miss along the way. Autism, like life, it is filled with the Good, the Bad and Everything in between; it can be an exhausting journey, but it is also extremely rewarding, which is why we always try to view Our Journey through Positive eyes and Thankful hearts. One Day at a Time, we attempt to be the change we want to see in the world.
♥ Happy World Autism Day ♥
Autism Proud – Journey With Us – by Jest Tu Positive by Dorothy Stronglove is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.