I’ve turned my blog blue in honor of the strongest kid I know, my son Jeffrey, and the millions of others who suffer from an Autism Spectrum Disorder.
When Jeffrey was two, after six months of fighting for someone to hear our concerns and give us answers, he was diagnosed with Classical Autism. The tears I shed that day were from both the relief of finally having an answer, and the fear of his future.
Would he attend normal school, go to college, hold down a job, get married, be able to care for children, a family? Would he make friends, be invited to sleepovers, get into mischief like typical little boys? Would he ever be able to feel pure happiness, and not be afraid of all the things his father and I couldn’t understand?
Sure he doesn’t have a life threatening disorder, and believe me, I thank God for that daily, but ASD is a debilitating disorder that not only impedes the sufferer, but all those who love and care for them. Until Jeffrey, I don’t think my heart had ever truly been broken, but in those first few years, I don’t think it was ever whole.
Three years later, with the help of several earth bound angels, we are all doing great. Jeffrey starts Kindergarten in a typical classroom in the fall and dad and I have a great deal more understanding and support then we ever thought possible. Our road is still long, and I know there will be bumps along the way, but because of Jeffrey’s determination and willingness to overcome his fears he will be a shining star on this earth despite his limitations.
Our story is one of great success, but much of that success is due to an early diagnosis. This year, one in every one hundred and ten children will be diagnosed with autism thanks to early intervention screenings and government funded programs. That means one in every hundred and ten children will receive a diagnoses and hopefully assistance, but my heart goes out to those who don’t have the recourses or the know how to find help.
For those people, and people like Jeffrey, I hope you’ll wear blue on April 2nd. The more awareness we bring to this issue, the fewer people will suffer in silence.
Helpful Links for information on Autism and Diagnosis