The Autism Speaks Walk has always held a special place in my heart having participated in the past in support of family and friends. But I never thought the day would come where I would be participating for an even bigger reason, to shine a light on autism to raise awareness and acceptance for our son Shayne. And when we learned of our close friends who were also going through the same thing, we knew we had to join forces and start this team!
Shayne was diagnosed in October 2020 – a time when we were all wearing masks and unfortunately only one parent was allowed to attend the appointment. With Shayne’s dad on speaker waiting in the car, we heard the diagnosis. As a parent, nothing will ever prepare you for what that moment feels like. Like any diagnosis, you’re left wondering how it happened, what you could have done to prevent it, what this mean for your child’s future–among a million a other thoughts. Every day since, my mind swirls with worry because this world doesn’t quite understand neurodivergent individuals and need a lot of education on how we support people whose brains are not wired like everyone else. And if they took the time to understand, they would see how incredible these individuals really are. And that is the very reason I decided it was time to share our story and participate in this walk.
When I think about the story, this is the story I want to tell until Shayne is old enough to tell it on his own:
They asked me about your autism…
I told them about the way you light up a room with your infectious, bright smile and positive energy
About how you make such a sweet impression on everyone you meet because your heart is so full of such a genuine kindness and love
About how you see the best in others and want to be everyone’s friend
About how hard you work in therapy to make the incredible progress you have over the years
About your brilliant mind that began reading at 3 and half years-old and later, reading in Spanish too!
How you started swimming at 4 and picked up piano at 5!
About how you continue to amaze and inspire all of those around you!
About how you have defied everything I thought this diagnosis to be!
About how I pray every day that you continue being the joyful, confident, courageous person who I have come to admire so very much and how I truly am the luckiest momma in the world!
I love you beyond words my sweet boy!
Shayne, you are the best gift I could have ever been given. I love you more than words could ever describe. You make me so proud each and every day and the very reason I strive to be a better mom! You are my little superhero!