Saturday, April 23, 2011

FAQ # 5 - How Has Autism Changed You?

I think when you become a parent your entire outlook on the world changes. It's the same thing when you learn that your child has a autism, or any illness I'm sure. I have changed a lot since JD was diagnosed a year ago. But I think the biggest change I experienced was waking up to the fact that there are literally MILLIONS of people in this world who are struggling with raising a child with a disability.

Everyday activities aren't easy for these families. We don't worry about things like playdates and school activities - we worry about doctor appointments, therapy options, money, insurance, schools, acceptance, awareness and so much more. Sometimes I wish that I could rewind the clock and experience a day before JD's diagnosis just to remember what life was like when our biggest worry was what to do on the weekend.... oh the simple life! It's not really something you can understand unless you've been in the same boat - so there's no way you can really get angry at people who are oblivious to it.

I think having a child with autism has made me a better person. It's given me patience, love, acceptance, awareness, forgiveness and so much more. It's shown me to appreciate the small "wins" in life that before I overlooked. It reminds me that the best thing you can do is cheer your kids on, not tear them down, because positive reinforcement is an amazing change-agent. It's also given me a life purpose, to raise awareness of this disorder make this world a little better for other families with children on the spectrum.

Here's a clip of an article that I wrote for work, that was distributed to more than 200,000 people around the country. It's just one way that I can make a difference. I'm already working on bigger and better things!

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