Apparently April is Austism Awareness Month.
I have mixed feelings about awareness months. Sometimes they can accidentally veer into pity. Or the media gets hold of a sensational story about an extreme or unique case and parades it as typical of whatever condition is being talked about. Meaning that proper understanding actually isn't improved.
Having said that, the more people who understand it, the better.
But I prefer the term used by The Thinking Persons Guide To Autism - 'Autism Acceptance Month' - because acceptance is the vital part.
I don't have autism (although I know lots of people on the autistic spectrum) so I'm not going to write about what it means to be autistic, because there are many others who do a much better job than I can, such as:
The Thinking Persons Guide To Autism
But I do know is that people with autism are all very different from each other. Different personalities, different interests - but with some shared traits. Basically like the rest of the human race: We are all different, but we also share some similarities. All of us, in our own ways, are differently normal.
And just as I want people to respect my personal boundaries (no-one leans on my wheelchair, OK?!) so do people with autism. And for this simple reason I've tried to learn a bit about where these boundaries might be. They aren't the same or everyone, but if I know some common ones then at least if I meet someone with that boundary I can do a better job of accepting and respecting it.
The foundation of my keyring cards is 'ways to clearly and positively show my personal limit in a situation that won't cause me more stress', so I suppose it isn't surprising that it wasn't long before people were asking for designs relating to common autistic traits.
So here's to acceptance.
To Autism Acceptance Month.
And to celebrate I've dropped the prices of the individual keyring cards listed under 'Autistic Spectrum' in my shop for the duration of April.
If you aren't on the autistic spectrum, I'd strongly suggest taking a look at the cards - because reading through them you may find some of the things that people with autism really need you to know in a situation, but which we as people are often not very good at hearing!