My message to you for 2019.
As 2019 brings several huge events and major achievements, I want to focus on what I want others to know and learn from Ruthfulness this year. This year, my story and journey of early intervention and autism will be published. I’ve had to reread and relive the pain of those years. The tears and heartache are still there and when I review the editors notes and contribute to the editing process, tears run down my face. There was a huge healing that came in releasing my story to print that I do fully believe has allowed me to grow far beyond what I could ever imagine. However, with all those emotions and pain I still want to continue and share with others so that they know you’re not alone.
I want others to feel empowered to continue their journey to advocate for their child as they work through the early intervention system or stages of autism. It may feel lonely sometimes but there is a community of parents that have been through a similar experiences or unfortunately worse. When you find your fellow parents, you will finally feel like someone understands. With part of my focus, I also want to encourage other moms and dads like myself that survived the darkest parts of our journey’s so far to reach out to support, comfort, reassure, laugh or cry with another parent that is struggling. When I hear of stories when a child with autism leaves our world too soon, I always think about the mom and dad of that child. My heart hurts for them. I think about how maybe they felt alone and couldn’t get the support and help they needed to work through their journey. I want to spread a message of love and hope to as many parents as possible with children who are going through early intervention or autism.
The second part of my mission, you’re not alone, includes advocating for our child and all the children that will come after. I never want another family to have the same experience I had. I want for what I experiences and learned to change the way a person or a school may handle a child with developmental delays, nonverbal communication, autism or any other exceptionality. I really believe that if you see or hear something that is not right, it’s for a reason. You, me, or we have to speak on the child’s behalf. If it wasn’t for those brave people at my son’s school, I may not have known everything that was happening to him. If it feels wrong, or you wouldn’t want that to happen to your child….you have to speak up. Even if you are wrong, speak up and apologize later. We need a community of strong advocates that will not allow any of our children to go without, be treated as less or made into the bad kid of the class just because they are different.
Please help me in 2019, in a world that’s become more mean and harsh, read and share my information with your friends. We are now living in a world where one in six children age three to seventeen have a developmental delay (from the CDC website). Just by sharing information you could be helping someone in your community that you don’t even know needs help. Next, be aware of just how common autism has become now and that no two children or adults with autism are the same. Be understanding and kind to those that you meet, even though they look “normal” you don’t know what living in their world is really like. Last, consider advocating for the needs of our children with delays. Be part of the community, be part of the change and help me this 2019 spread the message that you’re not alone.