Autism Awareness Month
Written by Kari Elrod

October 27, 2021 is the day our lives changed as parents. Our son's Psychologist, who specializes in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), told us: “I’m diagnosing your son today with ASD…and I am confident that he is going to do great things.”

While my husband and I had been mentally preparing ourselves for this potential outcome, after over 2 years of doctors appointments and assessments, hearing those words were truly life changing. If you have walked the path of any type of delay or medical complication with your child, you know that it really does feel like you’re fighting and advocating every single day - and that is both emotionally and physically exhausting. So for our family, hearing that diagnosis truly gave us some relief. Now, we could move forward and help our son navigate his special world. 

Autism is not the same for everyone. While there are so many stereotypes and misconceptions around what Autism may look or sound like, it really is a huge spectrum. My number one suggestion is that if you’re curious or have questions, ask them or educate yourself from a reliable source. I’d rather someone ask me questions about my son and our family instead of making assumptions on who he is or what he can do.  

The last few months have shown me understanding and patience. I’ve learned that it’s a privilege to be in my son’s special world. He is incredibly smart and so funny. He is loving, kind and just the sweetest kid. He teaches everyone to slow down and really enjoy the small things in life. While things may not always be easy for him or our family, I would not change a thing. 

I know I have so much more to learn and I do not have all the answers. Our family is only just starting this journey, but I do know one thing for certain: I will never stop advocating for my son. I will always make sure that he’s given the same opportunities as any child his age, diagnosis or not. I know he is going to change the world, because he’s already changed mine for the better. Our doctor was right…he is going to do great things!