Friday 12 April 2019

What Acceptance means to me.

My name is O and Mummy asked me what acceptance meant to me because this month, April, is Autism awareness and acceptance month worldwide.

The word acceptance to me means accepting and respecting other people's differences. Acceptance means that people are embraced by others - differences and all. Acceptance means that I belong - as I am - in the community that I live in. Acceptance means that we shouldn't have to change who we are just so that we can fit into what other people think is normal, even though there really isn't a normal way of being.

When people accept others as they are, they are saying "You are you and I am me, and that's okay. Different is good."

When people accept me and my little brother for who we are, they've made a conscious effort not just to know what we do but also to understand and accept us for who we are and the things that we do. My friends who accept me know that I wear my headphones not to stand out but because too much noise hurts my ears and my brain. They know and understand that sometimes I hide under my desk because my classroom is too busy for my brain.

I want to live in a world in which acceptance is not just a goal, but it is an actual reality. A world in which neurodiversity is just another way which makes people unique. A world in which everyone will agree that diversity is a part of what makes our world a beautiful place. A world in which everyone who is different in some way, feels like they belong. There are too many people and not just people who have Autism, who don't feel like they belong or don't feel like they are welcomed by the communities in which they live.

I think that acceptance will take time. Everyone needs to practice acceptance, especially adults because some adults have forgotten what it is like to be different. Kids, when they are really young, are good at accepting other people for who they are but some adults don't like differences. And some adults are really good at projecting their thoughts onto kids, even the negative thoughts. When this happens, the kids don't accept others when they are different. I've felt this from some kids that I go to school with and it makes me really sad and worried for the future.

I think that everyone, but mostly adults, needs to consciously practice acceptance for it to become part of their everyday routine. Because every time we practice acceptance towards something that makes us uneasy, we will create new neural pathways and strengthen the old neural pathways that are in our brains that tell us difference in others is a good thing. And if kids see adults practising acceptance, then they will also be more accepting of others.

That's what acceptance means to me.

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