For World Autism Awareness Day, celebrated every April 2nd, activists and organisations are encouraging the public to “spare a thought, be aware of the struggles and also the marvels that the autism community face.”
“Every day is Autism Day for us because our focus is on point every single day for our superstars and their families,” Hand in Hand, a specialised school for children with behavioural difficulties, wrote.
“The Hand in Hand team are in awe of the strength we see, grateful for the trust and in love with the responsibility that is bestowed upon us by the families we serve.”
Autism activist Valerie Brincat stressed that people with autism are “different not less”.
“I tell my kids this every time the word autism comes up in our home. I have three beautiful youths with autism who worked hard to become the individuals they are today. Now society needs to do their part and see and accept them too. We are all unique in some way! We are all ABLE!” she said.
“The spectrum is vast and there are so many people that are not yet diagnosed or who have not had the support they need,” another autism advocate, Jo Dawson added.
Dawson described how the last year took its toll on those with autism like her son Eli, who is accustomed to a routine.
“We have been part of the lucky ones. Eli has had some of the most amazing people in his life to help him when he needed it the most.”
“The past 13 months have not been easy as Eli does not like change. Self-harming and meltdowns increased which is the ugly side of autism, the part that I hate. However he has made improvement in other areas,” she explained.
“Our journey has only just begun please do not make it harder on us. Acceptance is a huge part of us being able to get through any obstacle that comes our way. Do not tut, roll eyes, point or any other negative behaviour. It does not help us especially when a meltdown is the only way we can cope.”
“See past the label of autism or autistic see the little boy that is happy, funny and loving. I promise you he will melt your heart just as he does every day with me. Let’s light up blue my darling boy, this one is for you.”
To mark the occasion, hospitals like Karen Grech and the Gozo General Hospital turned the lights of their facades blue.
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