“I have something to tell you guys. Baby boy may not be able to talk and we will have to take care of him for the rest of his life. We will have to protect him and love him more than ever.” This was the way my mother told me, my sister, and other brother about a recent diagnosis for my youngest brother, Baby boy with Autism. He was 2 years old almost 3. I was 7 years old and the oldest. At the time even though I was very young, I still knew that my life had changed forever with the tone my mother used.
After the diagnosis, we started to read every single thing known to man about Autism. This was over 20 years ago and there was not nearly as much awareness of Autism as there is now. Baby boy began a new diet, new school, and we all pitched in to help him. At times it was frustrating, especially when he would try to communicate. He is frustrated because he wants cereal but you do not understand him. He has words and you know it. You feel helpless wanting to help him.
We went to and through many specialists and therapists; while celebrating many milestones.
One of my favorite memories is when he first learned sign language; the memory is so vivid in my mind even 23 years later. My mom was driving us to my grandmother’s house for the summer. All of us, kids sat in the backseat from left to right were my sister, other brother, baby boy, and me. My mother was had given us some candy to keep us happy for the ride. Well low and behold, I look over at Baby boy and he is doing the sign for more. I screamed ‘Baby boy is doing the sign for more!’ I thought my mother was going to wreck! See you have to understand that we had been working with him for many months to do this. This showed me that NOTHING is impossible.
Fast forward to date, Baby boy is a healthy, outgoing 25 year old man that stands 6’4 and just as kind and sweet to everyone. We have continued to work through our challenges, but I wouldn’t trade them for the world. This has taught me so many things in life such as patience, hard work, and failure is all a part of life. The Lord does not make mistakes, he gives us challenges to grow and minister to others. I am so thankful to Baby boy as he gives me the drive I need and his existence is evidence of the grace the Lord gives to us all.
April is Autism Awareness Month and provides an opportunity to highlight the importance of support for research, early intervention, timely diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
The national statistics are astounding. One in 68 children in the United States is diagnosed with ASD, autistic spectrum disorder.
A diagnosis of ASD is often frightening and overwhelming for parents, family and friends. It is difficult to learn that a child may have a lifelong developmental disability. Yet, there is hope with early diagnosis and intervention, many children with ASD can make significant progress in their overall functioning. It is clear that the need to address our children’s developmental health has reached a vital stage. Be aware and informed! Be sure to learn more about Autism online at National Autism Association and Autism Speaks.