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Challenge: Kids with Special Needs

It Starts with Us

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I have two little boys. Finley is five, and Colin is four. Finley is smart, witty, and sensitive. Colin is smart, loving, and full of joy. Colin also has autism.

Before having kids, autism was my greatest fear. I worried for my future, hypothetical children. Autism was that "thing" that I just knew I couldn't handle. Fast forward several years, and our family is living this autism journey.

For the first few months after Colin's diagnosis, I didn't talk about it. I didn't make any grand social media declarations. I didn't feel that I owed the world an explanation. A few months into the journey, though, my feelings changed. No, I didn't owe the world an explanation, but I did owe it to my son to speak up for him, advocate for him, and be his voice when he didn't have one.

Since then, I have taken the role of advocate very seriously. My son deserves to be seen and accepted for who is - and so do all of the other kids out there who are on the spectrum. They also deserve access to educational and recreational activities just like their typical peers. I have blogged, written books, and taken on a new job to help advocate for kids on the autism spectrum.

I've learned something in the last year of living in the world of autism - I have to fight for my son. I have to speak up, even if it makes me feel uncomfortable or pushy. I have to be a part of the movement that creates change for my son and for others like him. Teaching understanding and acceptance - it starts with us, Parents...because if we don't, who will?

Check out our nonprofit organization at www.mountaineerautismproject.o... for more information.


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