April is Autism awareness month. This year it made me want to write a personal letter to my son. He’s nine, has autism and four other labels that make every day bright. I want to say to him…

We see you:

We see you struggle to focus and learn. Every day is a challenge for you to stay still, to not meltdown if something is out of place, or not working according to your ‘rules’.

We see you want to learn how to engage with your classmates and how hard it can be for you to make sense of social rules.

We see you struggle with your physical ability – not being able to climb on the monkey bars like other kids, not being as coordinated, or having the same strength which frustrates you.

We feel:

We feel exhausted watching you bursting with energy as you go on a roller coaster of emotions every day.

We feel your sadness when you meltdown because your brain and body are tired. It’s hard when you feel like you have no control over what’s going on.

We feel so immensely proud when you achieve things (which you do all the time). No matter how tiny it is for others, for you it is a massive achievement.

We fear:

We fear how you will go in school and how your transition to high school will be.

We fear the world won’t be as welcoming for you.

We fear for your future and for your career, and for your relationships. We hope you find a  group of friends who appreciate and love you for the unique person that you are.

We celebrate:

We celebrate your personality & your humour. It will get you to amazing places in life and hopefully out of tricky situations you might find yourself in along the way.

We celebrate the joy you feel when riding your bike. You have incredible riding skills and we love the joy on your face when you ride. It’s also one of the only times we see you focus as if your life depended on it.

We celebrate when the teacher told us you were average on some of the school topics this week. Average is amazing!

We celebrate that the world is changing, and that workplaces and communities are starting to understand that you aren’t ‘abnormal’. You are simply you, and that inclusion is a key part of our workplaces and lives.

We celebrate every time we see a business or organisation do something inclusive or talking about neurodiversity. Each time we see this we know we’re getting one step closer to creating workplaces where you will be welcomed and celebrated for who you are.

We celebrate you, because every person with autism is unique, and that uniqueness is something we cherish, love, and know will make the world a much brighter place.

Note to reader:

This letter may not resonate with everyone – for autism is indeed a spectrum and every person with autism is uniquely themselves.

At mwah. we deeply appreciate everyone as unique as humans. When we talk about diversity, autism (and neurodiversity) is a key part.

We’d love you to broaden your inclusion approach to consider neurodiversity. The resources below will help you make the future bright for my son, for your future employees and for employees who may be working with you that are neurodiverse.

Want to learn more about autism and neurodiversity?

Xceptional – We absolutely love the team at Xceptional. They are a standout for us in their approach to neurodiversity. Xceptional assess, plan and support neurodiverse people in jobs and train employers on inclusion – https://xceptional.io/

Neurodiversity HubResources for Employers

AmazeAutism and employment – Let’s get to work

Autism awareness Australia –  What do autistic employees need to be successful in the workplace?