Meet Owen M.

Owen M., 24

“There were negative times, I’m not going to lie,” says Susan. Despite those, she says, their son’s diagnosis made the family closer."

 

Now in his mid-20s, Owen lives in a group home with other adults with disabilities. Dad, Kevin, describes his middle son as a “gentle giant who is sweet to his core.”

Owen is extremely close to his older brother, Griffin, as well as to his much younger brother, Tighe, who, Kevin says, is both Owen’s playmate and protector.

At 18 months, Owen’s mom, Susan, noticed a decrease in Owen’s language and Kevin saw Owen avoiding eye contact, walking on his toes and flapping his hands. They got an evaluation followed by a diagnosis of autism.

Like most parents, Susan and Kevin tried to learn about autism but Susan says, trying to do research in the pre-Internet, pre-Google, pre-Amazon early 90s, was like being in the dark ages in terms of access.

Kevin continually bought books hoping, he says, that the information was still relevant. Eager to share his family’s experiences and wealth of knowledge, Kevin joined the board of Autism Speaks.

Kevin says, "It also connected us to the world in a way that we wouldn't have been connected. And I'm very confident that Owen has brought us more joy than we would have had otherwise.”

Since Owen’s diagnosis, awareness and understanding, and now acceptance, of autism, is the rule not the exception.