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Calls to Action

A letter to my fellow special needs parents

This is a post by Angela Conrad, mother to two boys on opposite ends of the spectrum. Her mission in life is to educate and advocate about autism for her sons.

To my fellow warrior parents:

I see you everywhere. I see you on the streets. I see you in stores and restaurants. I even see you at doctor and therapy appointments. I don’t know about you but I can spot you from a mile away.

We wear our heart on our sleeves for our children. We are our children’s voice for the ones who can’t speak themselves. We are tired. Really tired every minute of our lives but we keep pushing forward. Somehow we learn to smile while we are fighting daily for our children and that is an example of the strength that we have. After all, not everyone can smile through their trials and tribulations in life.

The strength that we have is one of our most important qualities.  Most of us didn’t even know we were that strong until we had to find out.

We have learned to be the best that we can for our children.  We were not handed a guide on the day of their birth that explained what to expect. We were not shown what to do in the event of a public meltdown. No one showed us how to manage the numerous issues that arise daily in our children. We just learned from our daily struggles on what to do. We slowly learned what is best for our child.

No one knows what it is like to have a child who can’t sleep or who simply does not require sleep. No one knows what it is like to be up day and night every day of our lives, except you.  No one knows what it feels like to not have your child look you in the eye. No one knows….no one knows except you!

On the other hand, no one knows the pure joy you feel when your child looks at you for the first time in weeks. The goosebumps that blanket your body when he says your name for the first time in weeks or months is indescribable. It gives you the boost that you need to keep on traveling on your journey.

All the forks in the road that you have had the last several months is okay because your child just gave you a spontaneous hug. It was a hug that you have been craving for months. It is moments like those that make the rough times worth it.

Our journey is a tiresome one. It leaves us at a level of exhaustion that no one can understand but the ones who walk it too. Furthermore, we understand love at a completely different level than most people. We know what it takes to truly put our children’s needs first.  We have learned to be a strong fighter for our children. After all, we are not only their parent but we are their advocate for life.

Keep your head up! It is a hard fight but the precious angels that we are raising is worth every second of that fight. I hope you keep gaining the strength and courage you need to keep standing strong against the fight of autism. Our children did not choose autism, autism chose them. Keep up the good fight for your child. They may not be able to tell you but I know they appreciate every second of your fight.

From one warrior parent to another!

The Autism Speaks blog features opinions from people throughout the autism community. Each blog represents the point of view of the author and does not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks' beliefs or point of view.