Yesterday I noticed at Café Press that there are a lot (thousands!) of great autism awareness T-shirts available. Some of my favorites can be seen by going to this link and then just clicking through the pages. “What? Is my autism showing?” is good, “Hang on, I know I have a social story for this” made me laugh, “Yes, my son has autism. No, he’s not like Rainman” is another good one, “When children cannot learn, it’s time to change the way we teach” hit home with me, as did “Parenting advice not appreciated unless you also have an autistic child.” Amen to that! I think I’ll buy that one! Wish I had it years ago!
There are so many good ones. One I really like is “got autism?” styled like the “got milk?” ads. I don’t know how Nigel would feel about wearing it, though. His favorite T-shirt has a silhouette of Bigfoot on it and says “I believe” across the bottom. He proudly wears it everywhere.
And then I saw a T-shirt that read “Autistic and proud” and I got chills and a lump in my throat. Nigel would probably feel self-conscious about wearing it. But I think the reason why it resonated with me is because I’m so proud of him. Yes, there are plenty of T-shirts that read “I’m proud of my autistic son/daughter/brother/sister/grandchild/etc.” on them. And those are great. But ultimately, I want my son to be proud of himself and all that he has accomplished: wanting to communicate, learning to talk, which was so difficult for him, figuring out how to filter his sensory issues (equally difficult), learning about all the social expectations of this NT world and dealing with its ignorance. But even if he hadn’t done all of that, I would still want him to be proud of his unique, amazing self. All auties should be “Autistic and proud.” I salute every one of them.