By ARTC Founder, Tracy Sekhon:
As I read through the previous blog posts and the many stories, mostly of hope and healing, in my blog file, in preparation for this new post…a wave of emotion came over me as I realized how much more our stories are the same, than they are different. Sure, the details of our journeys vary. But, there are definite common denominators, when it comes to how autism affects our children. There are common denominators when it comes to parenting a child on the spectrum. There are common denominators regarding the challenges we face when trying to determine what to do next. There are common struggles with therapies and treatments, with sleep and schedules and finances. Yes…we are more alike than we are different.
Autism is a journey. Sometimes our journey is long and painful. Sometimes our journey is short and somewhat uneventful. Sometimes our journey leads us to places we never thought we’d go. Sometimes our journey becomes our teacher. Sometimes our journey leads us to a new appreciation of life and of love, of challenges and of gifts. Sometimes…we are forced to relinquish control and learn that we become more liberated because of it. It’s different for each of us…but, this I know for sure…it’s a journey that matters.
I have learned that my journey, with two boys on the spectrum, has lead me to my purpose. I have been gifted these two amazing little boys to teach me about what it means to be a truly unique person. I now understand what it means to live outside of the “box” that society expects us to jump in to. I now understand that sometimes, functioning outside of the proverbial box is not a choice. I now understand that I have been put on assignment to teach others this. I have been put on assignment to help others navigate autism and to use my experience to show them the way. I have the unique opportunity to draw the roadmaps to options that can lead to a better life. I have the opportunity to hold the hands of those who need support, and to wrap my arms around them and lift them up. For this gift, that my boys didn’t know they were giving to me, I am so grateful. ARTC is my assignment. And, it is my intention that I will complete my assignment with the highest of honors…and that will evident by the lives that are changed because of it.
Thank you for joining my journey…and allowing me and ARTC to be a part of yours.
Blog contribution by Love & Autism
In 2014, what began as a local conference has turned into a movement to change how the world views autism. If you have a child with an autism diagnosis, you have probably been surrounded by the negative, doomsday way of thinking that says “there is no hope for your child”. We are here to tell you, that is NOT true. How do we know? Because we listen! We listen to autistic voices. If you really want to know what something is like, go straight to the source. As parents, you are yearning for a deeper understanding of what it means to be autistic. This makes sense. We know you want to better support your child now and want hope for your child’s future.
Sleep. For some of us, there is/was little. And, for all of us, it is/was hard. I haven’t forgotten the many days, weeks, months and (yes) years, without enough because I spent most nights holding my baby, often in the upright position.
We called Luca our “hold me baby” because most often, he refused to be put down. We would swaddle him tight and lay him horizontal for a short period of time…but it didn’t ever last. He simply could not stay asleep when he wasn’t in our arms and in a vertical position, wrapped up tight in a blanket. It was bizarre to me, that he wasn’t overwhelmed with being held so much. But, my little boy needed to be held A LOT, so we held him. And, though I didn’t understand why it was such a challenge, I wasn’t willing to overlook the fact that he needed something different than other babies. It made for very, very long nights and very groggy days.
by Marcia Hinds – Megan and Ryan’s Mom
It is not like I woke up one day and BAM my kid was better. Although Ryan is now an aerospace engineer, his recovery from autism was S-L-O-W. It took years. After two steps forward, he’d take one step back. Sometimes it was two steps forward, three steps back.
In the beginning of our autism nightmare, even I didn’t believe my son could get better or have any kind of life. Ryan had too many strange behaviors. Most times he acted like we weren’t there. I wanted some sign that he understood or heard anything we said. He gave us nothing. When I’d ask a doctor or teacher if kids with autism ever got better, their silence was my answer.