Autism Awareness & Acceptance
Dear Family and Friends,
It’s been awhile and there’s a good reason why. About a year ago, CJ had his 2 year appointment with his Pediatrician and we were told that he had a speech delay in addition to a deficit in his inter personal and communication skills. Honestly, since this visit our lives have never been the same because we were told he had to undergo multiple evaluations to discover what’s going on and Autism was one of the biggest things they had to rule out.
Therefore, within a short period we went from planning our lives and upcoming trips to going on a series of doctors appointments for multiple evaluations. He had to do hearing evaluations, genetic tests and multiple assessments to check his neuro developmental level to identify his needs before he started Speech, Occupational and Skills Therapy with Early Childhood Intervention, Project GROW Programs. Then about 5 months ago, he was finally diagnosed with being on the Autism Spectrum by his Neurologist.
What is Autism? It’s a neuro developmental difference, a delay or deficit and sometimes a disability in how a child processes sensory input, communicates & interacts with people and the world around them. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 44 children in the U.S. are on the Autism Spectrum and it’s 4 times more prevalent in boys than girls.
So why am I sharing something so personal and sensitive? Honestly we’ve been going through a lot this past year and we have struggled with who to talk to, what to share and where to get resources and support because we don’t want people being insensitive or judgmental. Also, we’ve been in such a vulnerable place and we didn’t want people projecting their limiting beliefs and fears on us, so our instinct was first to protect our son as well as our family as we processed this new chapter of our lives and found the right resources and support for him to thrive. Now, we’re being transparent and sharing our story because, besides being parents to a child diagnosed with Autism, we are advocates and want to use our platform to normalize this conversation and make the world a better and more accepting place for everyone with this diagnosis.
About 4 years ago when I shared my fertility struggles with everyone, I said that one of the biggest reasons I started blogging was to share my life stories, experiences and resources to connect and empower other women like myself and other families like ours.
We’ve experienced a rollercoaster of emotions and we’ve gone through the grieving process, so right now we’re in a place of radical acceptance and crazy faith. This journey can be isolating but as I’ve said before, no matter how difficult a situation may be, there are always blessings to experience and lessons to learn through it. Despite this, we have so much to be grateful for that gives us joy and fulfillment.
In a world where people fear, judge and look down on what they do not fully understand, we choose to be brave, to share our truth, to educate and advocate for our son and other amazing people who are on the Autism Spectrum. This is to help more people to understand, have more compassion and be more accommodating to different people. We also want you to know that just like neuro typical kids/people, autistic and neuro diverse kids/people also have their own unique qualities, strengths & weaknesses, so they are so much more than their diagnosis.
April is World Autism Month and National Autism Awareness/Acceptance Month so you can support by saying a special prayer for us and donating to Autism Speaks. I hope as l continue to share our experience and resources as we navigate our new normal, we all can learn to be more understanding, more accepting, more inclusive and supportive of people on the autism spectrum and their families.
P.S. Thank you to all the people who have helped us on this journey, from the resources shared to the kind words, love and support. We really do appreciate you.
If you have any questions, feedback or comments, kindly share below.