For me April is a great way to raise awareness, but to be honest running a page and having a child on the spectrum means that autism doesn't just simply begin and end in April for us.
We live it day in day out.
And awareness is great, don't get me wrong I am all for autism awareness... but what's even more important to me and my son, what will make more of an impact on our lives day to day, is true acceptance.
Acceptance of his needs, acceptance of his challenges, acceptance of our family and most importantly acceptance of him!
But what does that really mean? Why isn't awareness enough? Well on its own awareness just means that for a few days a year people change their profile pictures and the words 'autism awareness' pop up on Facebook... then its gone.
But we are still here.
Facing the daily battles of living in a world that can see autism as a challenge.
So what then for us?
Yes people may now be more aware of the word autism from awareness month, but do they truly understand anymore about autism? Will it have made an impact on my sons life at all?
To me acceptance means much more than simply raising awareness... It means educating myself on what being autistic feels like by listening to adults on the spectrum. Learning from them and respecting their needs and wishes.
It means taking the time to understand the world through my sons eyes. Looking beyond his behaviour to see what he's is telling me.
It means not trying to change him into something that he's isn't. Embracing his differences and never seeing him as less.
It means accommodating his needs, being flexible and seeing what he can do instead of what he cant.
It means supporting other families who are new to autism and letting them know that its not all as bad as it may seem at first.
It means celebrating achievements and diversity within the autism community.
Acceptance means fighting for an education system that isn't one size fits all. A system that understands autism, and embraces our children's talents.
Its about providing adequate access to services and facilities for children and their families.
It means being there for a new mum who is worried about her child, being a listening ear or simply a word of encouragement.
It means recognising the impact autism has on families and supporting them through the minefield of red tape and politics.
It means more than just acceptance that autism exists.
So that is why throughout April I will be doing my bit to raise awareness like everyone else, but I will also be challenging you to do more than simply change your profile picture. I will be asking you to think in ways you may not have before, and asking you to see things from a new perspective.
I will be sharing the voices of adults on the spectrum, and encouraging you to really begin to understand what living with autism really means by sharing my A-Z of autism acceptance.
Autism acceptance month A-Z (April 2016)