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The first thing I felt after my son was diagnosed with autism

This guest post is from Rose Morris who has a son on the autism spectrum. Why do you walk for Autism Speaks? Email us at iwalkfor@gmail.com and you could be featured on our website! See if there is a walk coming to our area at autismspeakswalk.org.

My name is Rose, and I am the founder of Abram’s Bed.

Abram is my middle son, and when we first got his diagnosis of autism, so many things happened.

One of the first things I remember about that time was relief… yes, relief. At least I knew what I was facing and could begin focusing my energy on a specific path.

Abram had 4 hours of early intervention between 3 different therapists, then on top of that he had 4 therapists that worked with him on ABA, discrete trial for 33.5 hours a week, and that was a full-time job in itself.  Plus, we felt like we needed to be involved in the studies in Pittsburgh to be a part of positive change, so we were periodically in studies at University of Pitt.

Then the realization that because of all these appointments, therapists, and doctor visits I couldn’t go to the women’s group at church that had been my “stay at home mommy” connection to the world of big people talk. You know what I mean if you’ve ever stayed home with little ones.

I contacted my women’s group and explained to them about Abram’s diagnosis and my leaving the group for a while.

The next week, the women came to my house to deliver a small set of drawers, you know those small plastic ones you can buy at Walmart and Target, and it was filled with my favorite fruits, chocolates, and cards. The cards held dozens of loving, encouraging notes that told me not to give up, that they were there for me and would help me, all I had to do was ask.

I still have these drawers in my laundry room, hiding our used kid underwear and socks turned into rags for cleaning.  Whenever I open that drawer, I feel the love and support from way back then.

But I started learning a very difficult lesson during this time. The people around me wanted to help, but they didn’t know what to do, and I had no idea what to ask for or how to ask for it. I mean who really wants to ask their friends to come clean their kitchen or help fold the laundry?

A couple of friends brought over casseroles in the beginning. They sent self-help books about autism—sensory diets, GFCF diets and recipes—and sent me aromatherapy bubble bath. Do not mistake me: casseroles are lovely, but they don’t take away autism.

My loving family and friends have done so much for me over the years. But back then, I simply didn’t know what I needed, let alone what Abram needed.

Over the years, I discovered the support and encouragement in the autism community. I wasn’t alone, and others had similar problems to me. And they offered practical ideas and solutions—answers to questions that I didn’t even know to ask. It felt good. The relief in knowing I wasn’t alone empowered me to reach out to others.

At events like Autism Speaks Walks, the community is alive. Teams of parents, family members, kids, friends, and sponsors like Abram’s Bed gather to be a part of the community. The stories we share are amazing, and the resources and solutions are incredibly useful to all the families.

When we don’t know what we need or even what our kids need, we do have a broader community who can share our stories, frustrations, needs, fears, accomplishments, and goals. And sometimes, we share awesome solutions.

“What’s Your Story” is our blog section devoted to parents’ stories—your stories. Tell the community about your child. Be a part of the community so we can support each other.

Why do you walk for Autism Speaks? Email us at iwalkfor@gmail.com and you could be featured on our website! See if there is a walk coming to our area at autismspeakswalk.org.

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.