World Autism Awareness Day
Last year our son Leo was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). I can remember trying to be stoic and not react to the diagnosis in front of the doctors and my family when we were told he is on the spectrum. My wonderful wife and I had arrived to the doctors appointment in separate vehicles so when I got back to my vehicle to leave I was alone and I ugly cried uncontrollably, I couldn’t speak, I could hardly find a breath. I often hear people recite the quote “when you have a child It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ” ― Elizabeth Stone. Receiving the Autism Diagnosis for my son felt like watching the wiggles dance on my heart and kick it around, which really sucks because they have so many catchy songs and they all seem so nice. Once I was able to get myself together I realized that I was fearful of how the world would perceive Leo, how our community would or would not embrace him. I had fears that my son wouldn’t be engaged by other children or parents, that he would be isolated, and ultimately that he would be sad. I don’t want my son to be perpetually sad, just the thought of it is horrifying and I felt helpless in protecting him from this possibility. Fortunately over the past year we have found people within our community who have made so many positive impacts on our son and our family. Many of my fears showed me that I didn’t know much about Autism Spectrum Disorder when we received the diagnosis. Please don’t dismiss World Autism Awareness Day, and be inclined to be kind. If you have questions I am willing to share experiences from our journey.