My son Frankie was diagnosed with severe autism at the tender age of 3. They say it takes a village to raise a child, but sometimes all you need is a parent that never gives up. Finding a community of not just medical experts, but people who intimately understand the unique challenges of parenting a child with autism, can make all the difference.
The first time a doctor mentioned autism to me I thought what is that? I did my research and with help of other parents and advocates I was able to give my son the proper therapies that worked for him.
There is an underlying level of guilt that comes with parenting a child with special needs – always questioning whether we are making the right decisions for our kids. I have never felt more guilty in my life. Not that his interventions would have been any different, because he was already getting help. But, I had not accepted that my child had autism. If I couldn’t do it, how could I expect society to?
What I can tell you, is that once I accepted my son for who he was, I was able to see a strength and beauty I hadn’t seen before. He suddenly made sense to me. And, once I understood the things he struggled with, it made every milestone that much more significant. It has been such a joy to celebrate his achievements.
My son is almost 7 now. He’s in a great school and therapy, getting assistance from an excellent team of educators and clinicians, and making incredible strides. This is not to say that it’s easy. He still struggles with self-regulation, self-advocacy and sensory processing, just to name a few. But, we will work through it all because accepting his autism means giving him opportunities to excel. It means giving him chances and seeing him shine. It means watching a beautiful mind do unimaginable things.
I have a child with autism. He is my world and I now live my life through his eyes and my life is complete.