Autism Parenting Magazine Issue 74 (Member's Dashboard) - Page 36

PERSONAL NARRATIVE Of the shows above, only one character is a female—Julia, the Sesame Street character. What about our girls with autism? Will we soon get to see them depicted on the big and small screens as different yet successful functioning members of society? with apple juice on a Saturday with my ME time, I can’t bring myself to watch these shows. I find it to be more like an enduring task than an enlightening awareness moment. I have gotten several calls from friends who are so well-meaning and ultra-supportive of my journey as an ASD mom. I could hear the excitement in their voices to share the news of such a publicized aware- ness to the autism community. I wondered, “Have they ever watched these shows? Why? To gain in- sight into the challenges that face a family on a dai- ly basis? Or if they haven’t watched them, why not?” Because although you see the awareness and know that myself and entire families live this REALITY 24 hours a day, you don’t care enough about my daily experiences and challenges to take one hour out of your day to view fiction? As bold and brazen as I am, I have never asked these questions. Why? Because something in my spirit tells me I may know the answer. But how? There has not been added conversation on #autismacceptance since the episodes have aired. No one has called and said they’ve watched an episode and thought about us. Neither have they called and asked if we expe- rienced behaviors in an episode. And if they have watched, why haven’t they called with the same en- thusiasm as the calls saying the show existed? Of the shows above, only one character is a female— Julia, the Sesame Street character. What about our girls with autism? Will we soon get to see them de- picted on the big and small screens as different yet successful functioning members of society? We live in a society with a short attention span. It’s trendy to be an advocate for a cause. I am confident there will be a time that I will build the courage to sit through an entire episod e, then another, and eventually a season of all the shows. I will ultimately applaud the creators, and the writers, the cast, along with cast- ing directors. That time is not now. When that time comes, will AutismTV still be a trend? 36 | Autism Parenting Magazine | Issue 74 I just want to say that I LOVE the awareness, despite any drawbacks. I emphatically declare, with passion, THIS IS OUR LIVES, day-in, and day-out. We don’t view AutismTV as a trendy advocacy cause or a hashtag. Don’t judge us if, after an exhausting day of unex- plained triggers, meltdowns, and transitions, we ar- en’t as excited to spend our viewing pleasures watch- ing some of those same experiences on television. What can you do? If you can do anything for us, watch, listen, understand, support, provide wine, but what- ever you do, don’t judge. AutismTV may be the latest advocacy trend. The characters of the stories may be screenplays, but our ASD characters in our lives are very REAL. AutismTV is NOT a hashtag. Sharlene T. Smith, PhD, is an autism mom of a six-year-old miracle princess born a two- pound micro-preemie. She is an @Empowering_Transforma- tion coach and motivational speaker with 20 years experience in secondary and higher education. Dr. Smith admits that being an advocate for her daughter on the spec- trum is her greatest responsibility. This series goal is @Empowering_Transformation in those impacted by any child on the spectrum and others who are “different NEVER less.” The @DrFo- cusedSmith vision is to illustrate that although a view may be “atypical,” the view is not insignificant and it does lend credibility to more thought-pro- voking conversation on the subject. Often feeling isolated in her experiences, she wonders if others see situations from a similar perspective. #AutismAcceptance #AutismMommaBear #Empowering_Transformation #DrFocusedSmith @phdfromNorthSantee