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April 2 – World Autism Awareness Day

Close-up photo of Vera and Fabiana smiling. The heading states: "April 2, World Autism Awareness Day." Below, there is the following sentence " Keeping turning the invisible into visible " By Fabiana Palena." Below, there is the following text: "Read it on www.comparlante.com", and Fundación Comparlante logo.

“Keeping turning the invisible into visible”

 

Even though my daughter says that even Toilet has its own day (and she is right), every year, autism has 24 hours to become the protagonist all around the World. Therefore, families living side by side with it take full advantage of the day.

Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurological and developmental disorder. Recently, it was also called Autism Spectrum Condition to bring it closer to a way of being, and, because we all need TO BE with EVERYTHING, we bring to this life and what we add up as we live.

I speak, or should I say write, just from my hearth as a mother, who is becoming an old woman.

And from my hearth, let me tell you, I relied on another mom I found in this journey, a young, loving, sweet and strong woman, because she certainly has a brand-new idea of the message to be given on this April 2, 2022. She told me: “We need to keep making visible what cannot be seen with the naked eye, to keep turning the invisible into visible”.

And “Yes!”, I said, “I am glad I asked Anahí!”. Society, our neighbor, the teacher, the family, the boys, the storekeeper at the corner (or maybe in the middle of the street) need to see, to know these conditions, and to found out that there are people whose daily barriers are not neither touchable nor visible, but internal and, somehow, quite complex.

In short lines, within the wide autism spectrum, characteristics, challenges, and strengths are unique and owned by each person. I may tell that many people find verbal communication difficult (they do not speak, or they talk too much, and, sometimes, in a very weird way), they do not understand gestures (but surely, they can learn them!), they find difficult to look in the face, they can be hypersensitive to flavors, odors, textures, colors, lights, movements, open spaces, they are usually hypersensitive, and they can have an extremely pain threshold, they usually have restricted interests and to look anything or to speak about anything so specific for hours. Moreover, for them, it may be complicated to respect the turn coming and going, conversations, and games for sharing, what is new, what is surprising, motor skills, but routine, rituals, getting ahead of what is to come, and focusing are their allies.

Furthermore, another issue to consider is the importance of early diagnosis, not because of being able to put a label or to give a name, but YES to find the right help depending on the child´s need. The sooner it is provided, more chance to develop the skills she/he will have.

Because for more or less, with ups and downs, every person with autism is unique, and the idea to raise awareness on these conditions invisible to the other´s naked eye is crucial for us, their families, and we do it as we can every day. Since one of our jobs as parents is to try to leave them a world or a small part of the world in which they can BE and BE part of, growing… living. And if it turns out that this small part of the world, the storekeeper at the corner, the teacher, the boys, or the neighbor next door can get to see them, to include them and to help them to BE, we feel that we have touched the sky with our hands.

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