autistic

‘She may never walk again,’ my doctor said. ‘Like hell,’ I thought. I was 17. I’d been in a car accident.’: Single mom overcomes crippling car accident, alcoholism, daughter’s autism diagnosis, says ‘don’t count yourself out’

“I was about to move out, but I found out I was pregnant. I was running on fumes. I felt like I’d made a huge mistake becoming a mom. I wasn’t good at this. I drank to cope. My marriage ended explosively. I finally decided enough was enough when my daughter started copying everything I do. She reached for my beer, and I remember deciding, it was time to be done. For good. That was 8 months ago.”

‘That’s you!’ my wife said. I watched the TV screen carefully. Suddenly, my whole life made sense. I am autistic.’: Man discovers he’s autistic at age 32, now ‘happy, flourishing’

“Growing up, my mom always slapped me when I acted ‘weird,’ calling me ‘broken.’ I gave up on being loved and turned violent. I just felt angry all the time. I stopped caring about everything, especially myself, and contemplated suicide. Then, I met Sylvia. She understood me, she saw past the self loathing and the anger. She saw the real me, the loving me. She broke down the barrier I had put up to protect myself. I wanted to change for her. I wanted to deserve her.”

‘On Labor Day, I lost my 3-year-old, autistic son at the worst place possible: a water park.’: Mom loses toddler in public scare, says it ‘takes a village’ to ‘save a child’

“He went down the slide, ran a few feet ahead, turned a corner, and was gone. The only thing in front of him was a lazy river with a strong current. I dove in and couldn’t find him. I wish I could say I was distracted by my phone, or talking to a friend, but my eyes never left his body. And yet, he is fast, and he was gone. Guilt has kept me awake every night since.”

‘The father apologized. ‘Mind if I try something?’ By the end of the flight, it clicked. He was astounded.’: Dad ‘nearly cries’ after speech pathologist teaches autistic son to communicate on plane for the first time

“On my flight, I sat next to a father and his autistic son. Before it even took off, there was screaming, hitting, grabbing. The father repeatedly apologized, but did little else. He warned it would be a difficult flight. ‘Not to worry.’ I had experience with minimally verbal kiddos. By the end of it, his son was changed.”

‘She was rigid. Not normal toddler tantrums, but unbearable breakdowns. The pride I felt turned into worry.’: Mom of 2 kids with autism says they’ve given her ‘purpose, perspective’

“When I would say, ‘I love you, Campbell,’ she’d reply back, ‘I love you, Campbell.’ There was a disconnect even in our love. Fear gripped me tight. The day she was diagnosed with autism, she’s smiling. I have dark circles under my eyes from crying. Then I got another whammy. My son, a newborn at the time, is also on the spectrum. When he began wandering off on the playground too, I just knew.”

‘I went home after my son’s transplant, only to receive an angry letter about the ‘eyesore’ exterior of my home.’: Woman’s son diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, community unites to clean her home in wake of insensitive complaint

“My son kept holding his right side and screaming. They told me he was ‘just constipated’. ‘Constipation shouldn’t be making him scream.’ They thought I was some crazy helicopter mom. The doctor’s response? ‘Well, if it was real pain, you holding and consoling him wouldn’t be making him feel better like it is now.’ Boy, was she wrong. I could feel in my spirit something was wrong with my baby boy.”

‘Charlie?! CHARLIE!’ My son wouldn’t look at me anymore. I didn’t even recognize him. My entire world came crashing down. The doctor told me ‘not to worry’. I later learned how wrong she was.’

“It all happened so fast. He stopped speaking altogether. I wasn’t hearing his sweet little voice saying ‘thank you’ after I gave him a cookie. He didn’t like to be touched anymore. He avoided people, even us, his parents. I wasn’t prepared to hear the diagnosis. It hit me hard. My jaw dropped.”

‘Oh my Gosh, she’s a baby. ‘I’m saying yes,’ I typed to him in Afghanistan. ‘Say yes,’ he responded simultaneously. ‘We’ll take her!’ I nearly shouted into the phone.’

“‘Dad has to move to Colorado,’ I told our sons. ‘He doesn’t have a choice’ ‘We’re not leaving her, right?,’ Aidan interrupted, his tone laced with terror. ‘We can’t just leave her!’ His voice was sandpaper rough, speaking the words I couldn’t. ‘We…we might have to make a tough decision.’ ‘I know,’ I whispered.”

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