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"I consider myself to be very well adjusted, though it was not easy getting there."

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My youngest is taking an interest in his brother again, and I know I will build on this moment, stretch it as far as it will go, hope for their bond to be strengthened and unbreakable as the years and decades pass.

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"Yes, there may be challenges I didn't anticipate all those years ago, but, I knew then, just as I know now, that I would do anything and everything to help make his dreams come true."

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This teacher who herself is on the autism spectrum says that, "You have to believe in who you are and not let autism define you. Don’t let anyone or your self-doubts ever hold you back."

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Jeanine even came out about her autism diagnosis to her friends in college who say they admire her more because of her openness.

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"Parents, who long before a diagnosis, may have dreamt of Christmas photos with Santa, trips to seek out the perfect evergreen, and Tonka trucks under the tree, come to accept a different reality. The Santa at the mall terrifies their child, a trip to a tree farm is out of the question, and that Tonka truck is only ever used upside down."

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"Now I realize that having autism has left me different from other kids, and that’s okay. Regardless of how “normal” I try to be, autism will always be a part of me. Not all of me, but still a part of me."

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Different viewpoints are natural, important and valuable in a complex undertaking like autism advocacy but it's essential to compromise, and find common ground, so that no individual or group in our community gets left behind.

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