Autism Awareness – A Personal Journey with Autism

Vicky Mellady is the Firm Administrator at Financial Enhancement Group.  Her beautiful cousin, Kathryn, shared her story of her youngest son. He was diagnosed with Autism at the age of roughly 2 & 1/2 years old, today he’s 19. Here is Kathryn’s story.

At that moment I thought my world had ended. What do I do .. how do I handle this .. this is all I could think about. I was scared for him, I was scared for us and I didn’t know what to expect.  He ended up starting school at 3 and a 1/2 years old and that was just beyond my comprehension. My tiny little guy getting on a school bus and heading off to school. It was very difficult for me and our family. Then I remembered something I heard on Schoolhouse Rock! Knowledge is power. Autism Knowledge

So that’s what we did  – my whole family. We educated ourselves on aspects of Autism and I learned very quickly that all children and/or adults that have Autism ARE NOT THE SAME. For instance, my son Matthew is non- verbal. He communicates through gestures or typing, and he uses an app on his iPad that talks for him. He is now 19 years old and a senior in high school. Matthew will graduate in June of this year and will then participate in what we call ‘the beyond program’. He will be in school for the next 3 years with more hands-on and real-life training, as opposed to academics. We are very excited!

Now the road to get to this point has not been without challenges and triumphs. It almost seems like more challenges than triumphs but I really don’t know. We just always try to focus on Matthew’s triumphs.  Over the years the biggest thing he has taught me and I hope my family, is to slow down, look at the little things, enjoy life and especially enjoy all the little things in life. We tend to just go through life as fast as we can and having a son with Autism, you must slow down and smell the roses. It doesn’t matter if the laundry gets finished, the dishes get washed, the floors get swept or the lawn gets cut today.  What matters is interacting with my son. It’s not all about Matthew adapting to my world and the world around him, it is also me adapting to his world!

My big push is to educate people in my seat – in my country – about young children, older children, and adults with Autism. Yes, we are all aware of Autism .. what we need to do now is educate on Autism.

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