So April 2 was not only Autism Awareness Day….
It was Jack’s birthday.
I have mixed feelings about BOTH of these events.
We pondered having a birthday celebration for Jack, but decided against it.
Because it would not be for Jack.
It would be for US.
Like most other celebrations, it has no relavance, no meaning to Jack.
To understand a birthday celebration, one must understand construct of time, the passage and the milestone aspect.
You may argue:
but he’s a child and ALL children love presents, cake, ice-cream, and celebrations.
And you would be incorrect.
Jackson is quite at peace with himself. He finds joy in small things.
He does not like to be forced to DO anything.
And we save that for learning/teaching experiences.
And WORLD AUTISM AWARENESS DAY?
We are aware.
We’d like acceptance more than awareness…..
But still I am not here to force an agenda on anyone.
So lets get back to the celebrations. I thought long and hard about Jack’s birthday and what we should do. A traditional birthday party wouldn’t really work. And who would we invite? And forcing Jack to open gifts? Not his cup of tea. No….it would definitely be for US, not Jack.
Let me try to get it across this way:
I am not a male. Nor am I Jewish. Nor am I 13.
But if someone came along and said:
“Hey! We are celebrating your Bar Mitzvah!”
And pushed me through all the steps.
And made me repeat words.
And walked me through it….
I wouldn’t know what the heck was going on, it would bear no relevance in my life, and it would probably annoy the heck outta me.
This is how I see us forcing a celebration onto Jack’s day to day routine.
Instead……we celebrate Jack every day.
We celebrate the large and small.
We celebrate eye contact.
We celebrate communication.
We celebrate seizure free days.
And THAT, my friends, is more important than any artificial construct and sugary treats.