Logan was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder on March 25, 2013. Ken and I had our suspicions when Logan was around 18 months. He was an active toddler who gave out hugs and kisses but was beginning to miss milestones. By the age of two, Logan still had no words. He preferred to play in another room away from us. His favorite activities were lining up shoes, Tupperware or cars. For hours, he could lay on the floor and watch the wheels of a car spin. When I picked him up from daycare he was separated from the other kids and when he saw me he would spin in circles and fall to the ground instead of embracing me in a big hug. Going out into public was so overwhelming that he would throw himself to the ground and scream.
We waited five long agonizing months for our appointment with the specialist. And on that day we heard the words "Your son has autism". There is no way to prepare yourself to hear something like that. To be told your child has special needs and a battle ahead. That they do not know if he will be high functioning verse low functioning or verbal verse nonverbal. We took in those words and then began getting help.
Logan began private therapy including speech and occupational therapy at McKenna Farms. His therapists are amazing and we are so very thankful for them. Within three months of therapy, Logan said mama. The word I wondered if I would ever hear come out of my son's mouth and there it was (and yes I cried).
Since his diagnosis, Logan is making progress every day. He is beginning to speak in sentences. His receptive language is catching up. Socially with his peers is still a struggle, but one we are working on. As a family, we can go out into public and eat meals. There are meltdowns at times, but not every time. Early intervention is crucial to these children.
We walk for Logan. He is our hero. He has been fighting since day one. He battles each time he tries a food with a weird texture, brushes his teeth, washes his hair, or speaks. He is fighting to learn and adjust to a world that constantly overwhelms him. Logan is winning and we will do all we can to help. I am afraid that at one point he might be tired. At that point, I want to make sure someone is there to accept and help him. Autism awareness is about acceptance and understanding. My family proudly walks and wears blue for this cause to help spread the word.
Logan has taught us an even broader meaning of the word acceptance. We ask that all of us as a community come together and show all people the love and acceptance they deserve. Each person is fighting their own battle and our job should be to help, accept and support them.
Why do you walk? Tell us at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can be featured on our website! You can register for a walk in your area at walknowforautismspeaks.org. Remember you can help Heather by donating to her walk page here.
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.