I knew I walked for my daughter, but I didn't truly understand WHY, until I walked for the first time last year at the Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA.
When we began this journey, I had never heard of autism, didn't know how one can get autism, or become autistic. When we got her diagnosis of PDD-NOS, I still didn't understand. Why us? Why her? If this was karma, it should have been me, not to my precious daughter. It took me several years to finally accept and embrace it. I didn't know anybody whose child was on the Autism Spectrum - nobody in my family, immediate or not, even friends, or friends of friends. I joined support groups, began support groups, began surrounding myself with other mommy warriors... and I believe it, one in 110 children are being diagnosed everyday.
Last year, as I walked, it was very emotional for me. I tried to hold in my tears as I saw the impact that autism has. But I also saw the solidarity of bringing the community together to help one another. I see myself in their eyes and I'm sure they see themselves in my eyes. We are there for one goal, help our children on the Autism Spectrum.
I walk for those beautiful souls, my daughter being one of them, who want to be heard, want to be appreciated and acknowledged.
I walk for acceptance. As I quote Stuart Duncan from Autism Understanding and Awareness via Facebook, "Autism is neither a gift nor a curse. It just is what it is. Focus on the person.
They're the true gift." To my daughter Arianna, Love your Mom - Nidia Mendoza
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.