I have the most amazing sons ever - Finley (6) and Colin (5). They are my joy and raising them is the most important job I will ever have in this life. I always wanted to be a mom, it was my greatest desire, but I had one great fear: autism. I remember pleading with God, "God, please don't give me autism. That is the one thing that I cannot handle."
Fast forward six years, and here I am parenting a child with autism. Colin received his autism diagnosis at the age of the three. He has been rocking our world from day one, and I have to say....I believe that I was meant to be a parent to a child with autism.
I am not "special." I am not "uniquely gifted," nor do I have any super powers that allow me to parent a child with autism. I do, however, love my son more than I love donuts (and I really love donuts). So, I do whatever it is that he needs. He needs therapy? I find it. He needs to practice using his AAC device to improve his communication skills? We practice, practice, practice. He needs extra encouragement and more time to hone a skill? Then that is what I give him.
I am not an expert on autism, but I am willing learn whatever I need to learn in order to help my son. I am dedicated to creating a world that is accepting and accommodates his needs without seeing him as an imposition. I am dedicated to creating a world where people see him for who is and love him for it. I am dedicated to creating a world that acknowledges his struggles, and celebrates his victories. I am dedicated to creating a world that sees his value and encourages him to pursue his dreams.
I was given two precious children, and one of them happens to have autism. I have to step up and be the mom that he deserves. I will fight for him. I will be his voice when he needs me to be. I will encourage him when he needs. I will let him fly when he's ready. I will always love him, no matter what.
Deidra is the State Director of the Mountaineer Autism Project, a nonprofit in West Virginia. She is an author, recently publishing a children's book about autism. She is a speech language pathologist and blogs at www.theslpmom.com
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