Why I Am a Passionate Advocate for My Son on the Autism Spectrum
I am an autism mama — proudly, unabashedly and passionately.
I am passionate because when my son was 5 years old, eleven schools refused his admission with no explanation other than a half-hearted “we’re not sure he’s ready.” The same child who was talking in full sentences at 14 months, knew his alphabet at 16 months and could count to 20 by 18 months.
Because when autism first entered our thoughts, I was told I had to wait 18 months to get him diagnosed through the public sector.
Because I feared having to give up my job and possibly face bankruptcy because there were no schools available or willing to accept him and I didn’t know what else I could do with him while waiting those 18 months.
Because I sought every resource through our education department and am still waiting, four years later, for a response either for a school, an aide or any form of assistance.
Because at 6 years of age, my son told me he would prefer to be dead than having to deal with the emotional and social challenges that stymie him daily.
Because I started interacting with other autism parents and saw that my fight was not unique, that being a stay-at-home parent was a necessity, that inclusive education was a myth.
Because I saw what the average parent is able to access for their child and what they can take for granted: free education and healthcare. And while they have their flaws, they are still accessible.
Because I saw how skewed the average person’s perception of autism was and I knew that needed to change.
Because I’m a single mama and if I didn’t fight towards making a different world for my son, nobody else would.
My son is my life, my reason for living. Every single part of my heart, every action in my life is always with him in mind. All I’m trying to do is change people’s perceptions so that with each new person reached, there can be a cascading effect towards the public’s view of autism. Hopefully by the time my son is an adult, he will have a safe world that is understanding and accepting.
My passion will continue to guide me daily. Throw me to the wolves and I will figure out how to lead the pack.
Follow this journey at Autism to Yoga.
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Getty image by Giselleflissak