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Okay, let me first say that I have never been a huge fan of dedicating “months” to something. My take has always been “If it is important, it is always important.” The first month dedication I remember is Black History Month, which is February for those folks who live under a rock. I remember thinking “This is kind of stupid. Shouldn’t we learn black history in history class, since it is, in fact, history?” What I didn’t realize then was that I was learning black history, but the month was designed to make me more aware of certain aspects that some teachers might not share.

Understand that I grew up in the south. Here in little old Spotsylvania they didn’t desegregate schools until a few years before I started kindergarten. Now I was in elementary school, so I didn’t really feel the tension, and by the time I was old enough to notice it had mostly gone away. I say mostly because there are always ignorant people who say stupid and hurtful things. The key is to help educate them about their ignorance.

So Black History Month was a big deal, because it helped get the facts to a generation in spite of the prejudices of previous generations. I didn’t really understand it at the time, but I realize now that many of my opinions and attitudes toward African American culture were changed by what I learned during those months. The great thing is that I wasn’t changed against my will. I chose to change because I was taught the truth.

So, in the spirit of truth and liberation, I welcome April as Autism Awareness month. I hope you can use this month to dispel some myths about autism, or figure out a way to understand it a little better. The most important thing that I can say about autism is this: My child has autism, but autism doesn’t have him. He is more than his disorder.

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On a final note, April is also Fair Housing month. This resonates with me for a number of reasons, not least because there is a good chance my son may be discriminated against due to his disorder. Remember that there are laws to protect those who cannot protect themselves. Put them to use and educate those who think they can take advantage of the less fortunate.

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