Why I'm Thankful for My Parents as an Adult on the Autism Spectrum
If you love someone on the autism spectrum, know your work and advocacy can make a huge difference. My parents made a significant impact in my journey growing up with autism. They never gave up on me, especially when it came to fighting for services during my early intervention.
In 1992, not many people were actually talking about autism in the mainstream media. That at times made it difficult to not only get resources, but to find resources. Research was important at the time as well because technology and the internet (if you can remember the times of dial-up modems) was still very up-and-coming. If it wasn’t for their research, they would have never found out about theater and music therapy which were pivotal for my early development.
I’m thankful for my parents’ advocacy, not only during times like Thanksgiving when giving thanks is a theme, but throughout the year. I think as a society it’s important to remember to practice giving thanks to the people in our lives who love us unconditionally and advocate to support us too. My parents still advocate for me as an adult who now has a full-time job as a professional speaker and author. They even advocate to break down barriers for the future generations of Kerrys by spreading awareness and education of autism. During that work they often share candid stories of my own strengths and obstacles growing up on the autism spectrum.
My first memories of being thankful for my parents’ advocacy were when I originally found out about my autism diagnosis at 11.5. I learned more about my strengths and challenges at that time and it made me understand even more about the hours they put in to fight for me.
Thank you, Mom and Dad. I now say in my talks, “Autism doesn’t come with an instruction guide. It comes with a family who will never give up.” As part of that, also be thankful to everyone in our community who loves and supports someone on the spectrum. Happy Holidays everyone!