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The 3 Words I Wish I Could've Told My Parents When I Was Nonverbal

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The day my parents were told I had autism was one of the scariest days of their lives — not because I wasn’t capable of doing amazing things in this world, but because of the uncertainty that an autism diagnosis can bring to families.

My journey with autism started when I was 2 and a half. I was nonverbal. There was no explanation for why I hadn’t spoken yet. Some of my earliest memories are of my parents trying to get me diagnosed.

While my parents took the initiative to find out more about what was going on with me, I would lash out because I couldn’t communicate my needs to my family and friends. Coupled with the onset of extreme sensory issues, it was one of the scarier times of my life.

I look back at that kid, completely terrified of where the world was going to take him. For so long I thought about what that experience meant to me. I rarely thought about what it meant to my parents. After knowing my parents now for 28 years of my life, I can tell you they’ve loved me unconditionally every single day of my life.

Looking back now, there is something I wish I could have told them. While I lashed out when someone would try to touch me, or when it started raining and I felt the water on my skin, I’d act out, most of the time toward my parents.

I wish just once while this was happening, I could have said to my parents these three simple words:

“I love you.”

Today, because of my parent’s love for me, I’ve been able to overcome most of my sensory issues. I no longer have any sensory overloads, and I travel across the country as a national motivational speaker who one day hopes to learn a second language to boot.

Now when I think of my childhood, I thank them for everything they’ve done and continue to do for my life. Their love has made me a better and stronger person today. It has made me not only able to tell them how much I love them but countless times how much I love my family and friends as well.

My one hope in the future is to start a family where I can tell them these exact same words every single day.

For those reading this, I hope you know about the impact you have in your child’s development. You are their best advocates. Tell them how much you love them every single day.

Baby looking to the side

A version of this post originally appeared on

Originally published: February 3, 2016
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