Two years after my husband and I got married, God finally answered our prayers for a child. He gave us Joshua Rafael, our first-born. We were excited and had big dreams for our son. However, as he was growing, we noticed some “red flags” that prompted us to seek medical advice. I was four months heavy with our second child — it had been two years after Joshua’s birth —when we received his diagnosis: Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
I was first exposed to autism when I enrolled in a SPED class as part of my MA requirement. I remember memorizing important information about autism and other developmental conditions. Everything I knew then was based on my professor's lectures, stories from classmates and observations of children with special needs. For my school report, I observed a number of children with autism, talked to their parents, and interviewed their teachers. I was given a tour of their classroom and therapy room, finished my report, and was happy to receive my final grade.
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Thus, I felt like I knew a lot about autism, until my very own son was diagnosed with it. This time though, autism was real! As a parent of a child with autism, I know that there is so much to be done with the little time I have. I never imagined that I could love another person as much as I love my son and my family, and that is all because of my son's diagnosis.