This blog post was written by Erin Haney, mom to a son with autism. Erin is walking in the Autism Speaks Walk in Tampa Bay, Florida. Help her reach her fundraising goal here. Why do you walk for Autism Speaks? Share your story at firstname.lastname@example.org and we might feature it on our site!
The moment you receive that diagnosis, autism spectrum disorder, you instantly wonder, what next? Where do we go to get help? What do we do? Chances are, a large part of you already knew the diagnosis was coming and you already knew what your kid 'couldn't' do.
What you don't think about, is what your kid CAN do and what your kid WILL do! It's too painful to think ahead to the positive. You immediately think of the negatives. Maybe not all parents do, but I surely did. I would sit in OT, PT and Speech sessions and hear therapists tell me that if we stay the course, we will see changes. I wanted to believe them. I so hoped they were right. It was hard to see 1, 2, 3 years or more down the road.
I always say that we need to celebrate the little wins, as they become our big wins. Recently, we saw a big win, HUGE.
One night last month, Jake wanted to go outside on the trampoline. I was making Caitlin, Jake’s older sister who is 7, stay inside to do homework. Jake got out of the trampoline and came in the house and walked toward Caitlin, holding out his arm to reach for her and said, 'ohhhhh Caitlin...let's go outside!' I was floored! He initiated play for the FIRST. TIME. EVER... and communicated! Let's just say, he was granted his wish, and Caitlin's homework time was temporarily placed on hold.
It's those moments when I realize, Jake will be fine. He will be better than fine. Jake is not the only one benefiting from this journey. We all are. Roger, Caitlin and I, as well as our extended family and friends, get to witness these amazing moments.
I'm so grateful for this journey God has gifted to us. It's important to SEE and EXPERIENCE these AMAZING moments. Autism. Wow. What an amazing journey.
Jake is an awesome little guy. He will turn 6 the week before the Autism Speaks walk. We have been on this journey with him since he was 20 months old. There are so many wonderful things about Jake that make him the most magnificent boy you will ever meet. He is constantly smiling and singing, which makes everyone he meets smile along with him. This little guy loves to sing, play music and cook. We, as his family, work to support him through this journey. He participates in Speech, Occupational and Physical Therapies. These tools make our Jake stronger in all the areas he needs to be stronger in. Each day, we are grateful for his teachers and therapists who we have worked with and encountered in these last 5 years. If not for them, he wouldn't be thriving as much as he is.
Autism Speaks helps kids, through the research and tools that they provide. Please helps us continue to help all kids that are put on this journey. SEE THE AMAZING!