Our Autism Story
We remember hearing autism commercials on the radio stating that it was getting closer to home. Like most people, we did not even know what autism was or how it was diagnosed. When Andy was born in 2016, he was everything we hoped for – healthy and full of life. However, as he got older and based on our experience with raising “normal children,” we knew something was wrong with Andy at an early age. There was always an excuse for his slow development though; his dad did not walk until he was two years old, or my friend’s kid did not start talking until he was three. Even our pediatrician gave us conflicting messages, saying things like “don’t diagnose him too early because the diagnosis will always be there,” or “he will be just fine with some speech therapy.” Due to denial and lack of information, we did not provide our son with the intervention he needed at an earlier age. Early intervention is crucial for a child on the autism spectrum to have the opportunity to live an independent life as an adult.
In 2019, Ricky, our last child, was born. He began with completely different developmental delays than Andy, and we recognized the urgency it required. Though Ricky’s autism is completely different from Andy’s, our experience allowed us to quickly provide him with the medical intervention he needs. Since starting full-time ABA therapy at the age of three, Ricky’s development has been tremendous.
There is no guidebook on how to be a perfect parent to neurotypical children, let alone for those who are neurodivergent. As parents, we require more support, reassurance, and information on how to understand and help our children who are on the autism spectrum. What if all parents had the support, education, and guidance to help their child with developmental issues at the earliest age possible? Our hope is that other parents with special needs children do not need to spend hours researching what should already be readily available to them, just like we knew what to do when Ricky started with developmental delays.
We hope to create an impact by raising awareness and promoting acceptance for children on the spectrum. It should be widely accepted and normalized to have a different way of processing and experiencing the world.