By Megan Amodeo
Ever since a was a little girl, I have dreamed about living in a world that accepts everyone. I know that sounds extremely cliché, but for me it’s true.
I wasn’t diagnosed with autism until my mid-thirties, but from my earliest memories I remember being different. I was always the quirky girl that marched to the beat of my own drum. I had friends as a child, but I struggled to make lasting connections with most people. I didn’t mind being alone. I liked solitude and quiet.
I was so excited to know that I am autistic, that I assumed everyone around me would also be super happy for me. That’s when I discovered that many people are not accepting.
As a teen, friendships and dating eluded me. After I was married and had my own family, I realized my differences were beyond what normal adult women experience. It was after two of my three daughters were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder that I realized that I was also on the spectrum. I sought out my own diagnosis and felt tremendous relief when the diagnosis was confirmed.
I finally found where I belonged.
I was so excited to know that I am autistic, that I assumed everyone around me would also be super happy for me. That’s when I discovered that many people are not accepting. My own parents disowned me. Several friends thought I just wanted attention. Others just said I was too normal to be autistic. The comments that stung the most came from people that assumed I must be faking because I could function in society just fine.
So today, almost ten years since my diagnosis, I hope for a different world.
I dream of a world that is accepting of every single person. I hope for a world where autism is seen as a beautiful spectacular difference, and not a burden. I envision a world where people are not looking for a cure for autism, but instead are embracing autism.
I long for a day when people don’t ask me if I wish my daughters weren’t autistic. I long for a day when the autism community can join together and create acceptance for all of us on the spectrum. I look forward to a day when many in the autism community stop looking for a cause and a cure and focus on ways to improve the lives of those with autism.
I envision a world where everyone on the spectrum is not only accepted but celebrated.
I want my daughters to live in a world where they are free to be themselves, not some manufactured version of what the world thinks they should be. I want everyone with disabilities to be able to go to college, have a job and have a family…if that’s their dream.
I want people to stop asking me how I handle raising daughters with autism. I want my daughters to be strong, independent young women who know who they are and want they want to do with their lives without boundaries.
I hope for a world where different never means less.
We, the autistic community, are capable of so much more than providing a scapegoat for the anti-vaccine community. We can be and do anything we choose. I envision a world where everyone on the spectrum is not only accepted but celebrated.
I am proud of who we are and what we can accomplish!
Megan Amodeo is an autistic stay-at-home mom with 3 beautiful daughters, two on the autism spectrum and one with ADHD. She’s been married to her neurotypical husband for almost 20 years. Prior to having children, Megan worked in special education. Today, she shares her life experiences and advice on Geek Club Books blog and in Zoom Autism Magazine.
Read about our “Off the Beaten Path” trailblazers in Zoom Autism Magazine, Issue 14:
- A Journey with Fire by Brigid Rankowski
- The Ideal, the Real, and Disability Advocacy by Finn Gardiner
- What Can Neurodiversity Libraries Do for the Autism Community? by Lei Wiley-Mydske
- Building Pride and Feeling the Weight of Marginalization by Kris Guin
Don’t miss these other great articles in Issue 14:
- Cummings and Goings: Creating Your Own Footsteps to Follow by Conner Cummings
- Live Your Dreams Autistically by Becca Lory
- The View from Here: My Road to Motherhood by Carly Fulgham
- What have you accomplished that you or others thought you would never be able to do?