In 2007 I welcomed an amazing little boy into the world. We named him Logan Rian (Irish for Little King) and we were confident that he was going to be anything BUT little. We were right. Our ten-pound baby came into this world silent. The doctor rushed him out.
Just like that, my Sumo baby was gone. I remember being on that operating table thinking, “Dear Lord, he’s not crying.” I brought my own nurse and very good friend into the delivery room with me, because my pregnancy had been anything but normal. Truth be told, I was scared. “Wait a minute,” I thought to myself. “You mean everyone doesn’t show up to the hospital on delivery day with a parade?”
I am so thankful to my doctor for delivering him safely, and to my friend Heather and delivery nurse Jessica for holding my hand and for making sure Logan was safe. Not a day goes by that I don't think about how quiet that room was when he was born. But thanks to early intervention and A LOT (I mean a LOT) of varying therapies, we have a talker!
It will be four years since 'Diagnosis Day’ this spring, and we walk for him, for our son, Logan. We will raise all of the funds and awareness that we can so families like ours can sigh a few sighs of relief instead of enduring constant stress. Constant stress isn’t good for anyone, but especially for our little dude. It makes him react in ways that most people don’t understand. But to us, it’s what makes him special.
The onlookers and naysayers have been plentiful through the years: “Oh, It’s not autism.” “That’s a BS diagnosis.” Then there’s my personal favorite, “It’s just poor parenting. He’ll grow out of it.” Remember that these people most likely do not mean to be unkind; they are just uninformed, or even misinformed.
Autism is very real, and it’s not easy to handle every day. I’ve found myself trying to educate people who are oblivious to autism. We hand out cards in the grocery store (when I have to bring Logan with me) so that people might understand him a little bit better. Truth be told, Logan hates the grocery store, so that makes a seemingly simple daily task a huge chore for me. Daily life for us starts out the same – it’s very similar to Groundhog Day, and we’ve all grown accustomed to it, which has been nice. Logan has two brothers (one older, David, and one younger, Nathan) who really try to understand him.
It’s a blessing and sometimes difficult having two neurotypical children and one special needs son. I know, I know. You’re reading this and can’t believe I’m saying it. It’s so hard to watch his two brothers playing together in the back yard. Laughing, genuinely enjoying one another’s company and partaking in imaginative play. They are so very amazing and so accepting of their brother. I know in my heart how much they love him. They tell him how they feel, they try to hug him and give him high 5’s while doing ‘brother things’.
They advocate and educate other children on Logan’s behalf, but there’s one piece missing. Logan tends to be sitting in a corner by himself when the other two are playing. Logan has to go to therapy, so the resentment sets in with his brothers because they’d rather be anywhere else but the therapy centers. It’s hard for them. It’s hard for me. But for Logan, it’s life, as he knows it. That fact right there amazes us all on a daily basis. He is not sad that he has autism and epilepsy nor has he ever let these facts stop him. He tries harder than anyone I know and he fills my heart with complete joy and love. I adore my son and I’m pretty confident that he adores me right back. We’re so lucky that he’s our little dude.
The gains that he has made from early intervention treatments (some of which I’m sure have been funded by your Autism Speaks donations) have literally changed his life. He went from non-verbal to verbal and he shares his stories daily. We never thought we’d hear his voice. Autism literally does speak, you just have to listen. Funding for research and therapies changes lives; our son is walking talking proof of that.
We have one in 88 - but he's one in a million to us. So, we walk as a family, with our friends and hopefully with a community-strong team for this event that we look forward to every year. We walk knowing that there is not a cure, but that awareness and acceptance mean everything in our home. We walk with faith, hope and of course love! We walk in honor of our Little King, Logan Rian.