April marks Autism Awareness Month and as we contemplate the meaning of this time, we are reminded of a quote that begins, “Every child deserves a champion”. It strikes a chord because I think each of us can recall a moment where a teacher, a family member or someone in our community made a difference in our lives.
As parents and professionals working with children with special needs, we see it on a whole other level. Champions are most commonly seen in the fierce determination and strength of the parents who work tirelessly to ensure their child’s rights are honored, their needs are met and their therapy schedule is adhered to. We also see champions every day in the faces of therapists who passionately execute their job not only with clinical excellence, but with love. Champions can also come in the form of young siblings who play with, defend and celebrate their special needs siblings – enlisting advocates in their classrooms and on the playground.
And then their are our kids and adults with autism who teach us every day that they are extraordinary, brave, different (but not less), intelligent, loving, funny, kind…and uniquely wonderful.
For all of us who know how profoundly changed we have been to know or witness a champion, let this be our cause for the month of April – May we help bring awareness so that others can know what we know. So that they too, can champion a child.
“Every child deserves a champion—an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be.” -Rita Pierson
Here are some resources you can share with your community this month (and all year long):