April is Autism Awareness Month, and as a parent of two special needs children, I know what Autism Awareness means for me and my family. It means helping people to understand my children - how their minds work and how they experience the world. It means helping people to understand the life that my family leads and all the complex, scary, wonderful, expensive, exhausting and exciting things that go with it.
But what does Autism Awareness mean for the rest of Hoboken?
What about the families who aren’t directly affected by Autism?
I’ve given this a lot of thought and here is what I’ve come up with. Having “awareness” is about understanding. Not understanding all the facts or statistics surrounding autism, but understanding that everyone experiences the world differently and THAT’S OKAY. If fact, that is what makes our city awesome. Or as we say in our house “Au-some”. It’s about understanding how prevalent autism is in our community. Understanding that if you go to a Hoboken playground with your child, chances are there will be a child with autism there. With 1 in every 41 children being diagnosed, New Jersey has the highest rate of autism of any state in our country. Hoboken is likely to have even higher rates due to the amazing support of our public school system and other community efforts that special needs families seek. So being aware and being understanding really just boils down to letting everyone experience the world in their way, even if it is different from yours and loving them, not in spite of it, but because of it and teaching our typically developing children to model that behavior. Just being kind and letting others know “I see you” and “I’m not judging you”. I am so grateful for how much I already see this happening in our community! I feel blessed everyday to live in the amazing community of Hoboken where my children are accepted and loved just the way that they are.
Thank you Hoboken for being so Au-some!
For more information about Autism, Autism Awareness or if you are in need of support,
please feel free to contact Megan at the Hoboken Special Needs Parent Group
Megan is a stay at home mom of two au-some kids & the co-director of the Hoboken Special Needs Parents Group. Her daughter Aurora (4) attends the Pre-K ABA program at Wallace Elementary. Her son Clark is 2 and a half and is receiving services through early intervention. Both children are extremely active and always keep Megan on her toes! She and her husband moved to Hoboken 2 years ago and were blown away by the help they received from the Hoboken School District. You can also find Megan in her role as the children’s ministry leader at Hoboken Grace Church, where she oversees the care of infants ages 6 weeks to 18 months old.
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