Autism Awareness: One family's journey | Families
April is World Autism Awareness Month.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 88 children in America has the developmental disability.
Chances are you know someone who is autistic.
We asked you to speak up and shine the light of awareness on autism. This is one family's story:
Our son Xavier Brown is 3, he loves outdoors and TV. He is very loving on his terms and where you see Xavier you will see "Blankie".
We started noticing he was behind on "normal" milestones and thought he was just a late bloomer. Near his second b-day he had developed what I called toddler OCD and others called spoiled brat. He had to have certain things a certain way, got agitated easily, not talking, attachment concerns and so on.
I spoke with the Dr who also noticed things and eventually got him into a therapeutic preschool when he was 2.
He was diagnosed a month before his 3rd b-day and although I know there was something there it was still not as much of a relief to have a name for it as I had hoped. I wanted to know what I could do to help him every way I could but a diagnosis still brought more questions and anger and brought to life a nightmare and a mission.
The meltdowns, fears, and anxieties he already had at 3 would prevent as many family outings and even trips to the store. I then realized that would make every one of these done successfully much more rewarding.
He taught me selflessness and gratitude as well as not to take the little things for granted. He has 2 sisters and a brother that have been so supportive and protective of him and love him so much, they have never voiced problems with the attention he needs. My children are amazing! We recently were able to take him on a family vacation and it was AMAZING.
I still worry about his future but have decided to live in the now and enjoy every minute and milestone.
Although we still have to face a lot of judgment from "outsiders" and have our share of meltdowns, fears and unanswered questions I wouldn't trade it for anything different. I believe we were chosen to be his parents for a reason and it's a reason I'm ready and willing to fulfill.
Erin and Willie
How has autism affected your life? How did you find out someone you love is autistic? How have they inspired you?
Share your photos and stories to YourRegion8@kait8.com.
For more information on autism, visit Autism Speaks.