It seems a lifetime ago that I met Amanda at Bloggy Boot Camp. I remember meeting her golden haired little man and the longing he put in my heart to be with my own son. (It was my first full day away from my baby.) I don’t think anyone had any idea then that Wyatt had autism. However, even if we did looking at him doesn’t tell his whole story. You can’t see autism. The most recent data shows that 1 in 88 children and as many as 1 in 54 boys have an autism spectrum disorder, but unless you are living with it, chances are you might not know what autism looks like.
Amanda is my third friend to have had her baby diagnosed with autism. I will be the first to admit, I don’t know enough about it. That is where Amanda’s new blog comes into play. Recently in an effort to share her journey and knowledge with others like me who are wanting to know more or those whose family is currently living the diagnosis My Autistic Son was born and grows to bring more awareness to autism. I asked Amanda to share a post here because I am so proud of her for sharing her voice, and I know many will find help, comfort, and learn from her and her experiences. It is because of Amanda that I am beginning to know and learn more about autism and where I can help. I’m so grateful to Amanda for sharing her voice her today.
My eldest son Wyatt is three and a half years old. He has gorgeous blue eyes, long dark lashes, and curly blond hair. It isn’t hard for my little boy to make someone smile. Looking at him you would never know he is autistic.
My son may have the autism diagnosis, but our family is an autistic family. It now defines us like a religion. We live it, breathe it, and experience it every moment of our day. Wyatt, of course, is our teacher and leader. As he has shown us a world full of frenzy and made us look at everything differently. Our family is complex, and this is hard for so many to understand.
We don’t always attend family functions. It isn’t that we don’t want to be part of the festivities, but we consider the event from all angles. Will there be a lot of people? Will there be a lot of children? Will it be noisy? Are there any extra hands to help? Finally, do we have the energy to make it through the event? Wyatt loves to get out of the house, but we know when his senses become overloaded he is the one who suffers the most. We have found that many people in our lives do not understand our thought process.
With autism rates on the rise, it is my hope that people will become more aware of autism spectrum disorders. Autism is a challenge, but understanding and acknowledgement makes the journey of an autistic family much smoother.
Along with understanding, there are many ways you can help an autistic family.
Offer a couple hours of babysitting.
Show genuine interest in learning more about autism.
Join in on autism events. (ie: walks, fundraisers, special functions)
Allow yourself to be a shoulder, when a parent needs to just let it all out.
Offer to lend a hand. You would be surprised how even just tagging along to therapy sessions or grocery trips can be a HUGE help.
If you have any questions about autism or how you can become more involved in autism awareness, please do not hesitate to give me a shout out.
Amanda is a work at home mom to two boys, one of which is autistic. She began blogging in 2008 on her blog Mandalyn and The Stinky Cheese focusing on her life and family. With the diagnosis of her son she has most recently started the blog My Autistic Son to connect with other autistic families and bring more awareness to autism.
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