Monday, March 31, 2014
Time to Connect!
Autism Awareness Month starts April 2. Time ....to connect! Warriors ...unite! I want to hear your stories, I want to know about your journey with Autism. One of of the biggest resources to handling the challenges with autism is the autism community itself! You can read book after book, but it's the hands on everyday experiences of the people we come in contact with that provide the most valuable resources. I seem to be a magnet for this, everywhere I go I connect with someone else whose child is diagnosed. Just last Thursday, just getting coffee, I struck up a conversation with the Barista and sure enough, he had a child on the spectrum. My son's story. Something was different about him the first night in the hospital. Acid reflux, vomit shooting out of his nose. Constant screaming. The nursery attendant bringing him right back in the room because none of their resources could comfort him. " He must still be hungry," she said and handed him back to me. No rest. Unusually clingy, with almost super human strength hitting physical milestones way before his time. He would scream though the night but as long as he was near me he was all smiles, started saying words, even sentences... Then....the computer rebooted itself and the smiling child was gone. Empty glances into the heavens, unbearable unhappiness. The worst moment was when I went to change his diaper in a Mc Donald's bathroom. The sensory overload was too much for him. The sounds , the temperatures. he screamed as if I was torturing him. Then, the banging on the door. " Mam, do you need help? What's going on in there?" By the age of two, a parents as teachers rep came into the home and saw it. " If he loses words," she said, " I'm giving you a form to fill out." He lost more words. He had early intervention through my state as a child with a learning delay, then by the age of 2 1/2, he was diagnosed officially by two neurologists with classic autism caused by a chromosomal duplication on 3q11.2. Since then, he has put in hours of therapy and schooling like a high school boy. He has carried in essence a full time job, while other kids his age run and play. He is a fighter, he is a leader, he is an adventurer. Those gifts, took a little boy who couldn't speak or look at you in the eye and made him the person he is today. He is rocking through kindergarten, loved by his class, leading them in their morning letter chants. His disability not only built him but it forged an advocate from a shy woman who spent most of her life just trying to keep peace. His struggles are my weapon. His communication barriers are my voice. His triumphs are my shield. His compassion is my armor. A warrior birthed, from a single diagnosis. Autism. Our story. Now....tell me yours.