April is Autism Awareness Month

Let me just say – BFD! That stands for big fucking deal. Everybody needs to get onto the accepting and including part now.

This year for our family April is now the month of celebrating our son’s achievements. Some are in spite of and most are because of.

When I say in spite, I am talking about the limitations and unfair assumptions piled on our son not just by others; but by us. As parents in the past we have been complicit in limiting him. He won’t get a job. He won’t have a girlfriend. He won’t have a social life. Yep! I thought these things as recently as four years ago. Happy to say I am wrong on all counts.

When I say ‘because of’ I am talking about my son’s self belief and expectation that his life will look exactly how he wants it to. His determined pursuit to ensure this happens. He is about to book his schoolies trip to Dubai. Paid for completely by himself. Not many kids go to the F1 in Abu Dhabi for schoolies.

I’ve written before about changing your language when talking about your kids and around your kids. I should have said Clay doesn’t have a job yet. Clay doesn’t have a girlfriend yet. That is the way I speak about the milestones we assume our daughter to would experience. It should have been the way I spoke about both my kids.

Check this out ☝️. Clay is a guest panelist at this event. This event is a part of QODE. THE BIGGEST TECH EVENT IN THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE. My son, the same kid McDonald’s wouldn’t hire was invited by the government organizer. They invited him to talk about starting a business. Yep. I no longer have limitations of any sort.

This year we have stood in front of film crew freelancing for international media listening in on our ear piece while Canadian prime time comperes talked about Donald Trump (yes we looked at each other and giggled in awe) before they crossed over to us in daggy old Lota to interview Clay.

I stopped counting when online views cumulatively reached eight million. While that hectic attention has ceased (thankfully), we are grateful for the opportunities they opened up.

Clay is not famous. He is a role model. He is a funny, charming bright young man. We’ve always known this and it is so wonderful to see the world getting on board too.

Autism doesn’t mean can’t or never. It doesn’t mean lacking capacity, it means different strengths and attributes, a different way to reach milestones, a different source of brilliance.

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