This guest post is by Aaron Lewis who is the mom to a son who was recently diagnosed with autism. Aaron is walking as part of the Autism Speaks Richmond Walk. Consider giving Aaron a donation for her walk page here. Why do you walk for Autism Speaks? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and you could be featured on our website! See if there is a walk coming to our area at autismspeakswalk.org.
When my son was born, my heart was full. I couldn’t stop myself from thinking about his future. I would daydream and wonder if he would be a star athlete, a college graduate, a successful adult, and a well rounded gentleman. Danny was the happiest baby. He met his milestones for the first several months, but my husband would bring up that Danny had a hard time looking at him. On the moments that he would look at us, it was as if he was staring through us.
As the time went on, my husband brought up his concerns, and I tried very hard to convince him that nothing was wrong. One afternoon, while watching a television show about young children, it hit me like a freight train. Those children were talking, responding, and interacting as a 2-year-old should…. Danny was not.
My heart broke but I knew I needed help. I wrote an email to our pediatrician and explained my concerns. I was very persistent and she gave the referral to have a speech assessment done. I was so nervous because this is my boy. What would I do if something was wrong? The speech therapist completed the evaluation and was very careful with the words she used. A thousand questions raced through my head.
We were directed to a development specialist who gave us Danny’s diagnoses. The word autism terrified me. I felt like I had been punched in the stomach and had the air knocked out of me. Thankfully we were provided information from our doctors for programs, therapies, and resources that were out there for not only our son, but our family. I felt a sense of relief. I wasn’t alone in this. There were others out there who have been down this road, and because of these people, there were resources out there to help our son.
We dove in head first, and our family vowed that we would be unstoppable for Danny. The saying, it takes a village is magnified when you have a child with autism and we have built a small army of family and friends who support us, love us, and want to see our son excel.
I walk because my son deserves the possibility to be the athlete, the graduate, to have a family, and to be the man I know he will be because of the programs and research that is out there. Each day I learn a little bit more about autism and the different affects it has around the world. I love Danny with every breathe in my body and I want to help educate the world. Danny is not a label, his is not a diagnoses.
He is my son, and he is destined for greatness!