In our first Autism Awareness Month 2023 post, we presented eye-opening statistics showing that the number of people living with autism has exponentially increased over the past few decades. In this post, I will discuss the hard truths behind those statistics, providing personal insight into what an autism diagnosis can mean.

Autism – A Love-Hate Relationship

I feel frustrated whenever someone says, “Autism is a blessing.” If autism were a blessing, I would not be spending my life advocating for people with autism and other neurobiological disorders. If autism were a blessing, my son Aidan would be able to feed himself. He would have the ability to express himself in words. He would go on to lead a “normal” life, and years from now, I could be welcoming grandchildren into the world.

Autism is not a blessing.

Aidan and Johanna Burke

But Aidan? Aidan is a blessing. The unconditional love we share is a blessing. The strength he demonstrates each and every day of his life is a blessing. And Aidan’s strength is contagious. His strength gives me strength. And my goal is to share that strength with you. Advocating for the autistic community and fighting to ensure they receive the support they deserve requires strength. It is an uphill battle, but it is a battle that we can win together.