Meet Jeff and Jonathan R.
Jeff and Jonathan R.
I am not going to let fear rule me.
I’m a dad on the autism spectrum. I was officially diagnosed in 2010, but I always knew I was different than other people. My 25-year-old son Jonathan has Down syndrome and was diagnosed with autism as a young child. All my life, before I was diagnosed, I felt like I was always messing up. My executive functioning and thought processes were all messed up. Basically, I had to learn to go through life copying what others were doing and how they were acting, although I didn’t understand the purpose and reason for it. Today, I find my analytical approach to life is a strength and embrace it. But I’ve also learned to do my best and let God handle the rest.
Autism Speaks provided me with critical resources, including information about a dual autism and Down syndrome diagnosis. Jonathan has quite a few communications difficulties. He is brave, has conquered his sensory and noise issues, learned to vacuum the house, get a haircut, use a blow dryer, etc. There is something in him which says, “I am not going to let fear rule me.” I am trying to learn from him and use what I learn in my own life - he is my hero.