When you hear that your child has Autism, life changes. Some parents go into denial; some parents throw up their hands in despair and ask, “Why did this happen to us?” We did a little of both. My husband denied that anything was wrong with Skyler. In fact, he continues to make those types of statements even though he proudly wears his Autism Awareness bracelets and drives Skyler to therapy. I guess he thinks that as long as he doesn’t say it aloud, it doesn’t truly exist.
With me, it was different. The “A word” was always the thing I feared most. I worked with many Autistic children during college and even had hopes to continue in a career path that would allow me to help these children. I eventually settled for a career in special education, and I am definitely blessed to be able to teach special needs children (several of them Autistic). However, when I became pregnant, I worried constantly about Autism. I signed up for Autism newsletters; I researched possible causes and therapies. Perhaps I brought all of this on our family with my special interest in this area. Others have told me that God chose me for Skyler because I was prepared to help him. Whatever the reason, the actual diagnosis is devastating. The only thing I can compare it to is being knocked to the ground and kicked repeatedly in the stomach. Dreams of a future valedictorian and football quarterback were pushed to the side as I wondered, “Will he have friends? Will he date? Will he go to college? Will he work?” It just breaks my heart that life could be difficult for my little boy. Like every parent, I just want Skyler to be happy and successful.
So, I dug down deep and chose to fight. I’ve decided that I will not give up on Skyler, and we will work until he recovers. This brings me to where we are today. Skyler is now three years old, and we have begun our journey to recovery through biomedical interventions. For those who do not know what this means, it means that we believe there are medical reasons for Skyler’s autistic behaviors, and through proper treatment, these behaviors can be eliminated. Most people associate Jenny McCarthy with this approach because of her claims to have recovered her son Evan from Autism. Doctors will say that Evan was never Autistic to begin with. Indeed, they will say anything to refute the fact that a child was recovered. I am not sure why they close their eyes and hide from the facts, but I am sure part of it lies in the fact that they don’t want any fingers pointing at their precious vaccines as a possible mitigating factor. However, many parents have made the same claims of recovery, and I tend to believe these parents; after all, parents know their children better than anyone else. These are indeed the same parents that I believe when they say their child received a vaccine and suddenly became Autistic. You just can’t deny what a parent knows as fact and has seen with their own eyes. Someone once said that children are tiny pieces of our heart that walk around outside of our bodies. That is sooo true! Every time Skyler cries, I feel my heart break. And when he smiles, my heart soars.
So like other parents that have fought this battle before me, I have chosen to begin our journey towards Skyler’s recovery. I invite you to take this journey with us as I document our successes and failures. And I hope that others can learn from us along the way. Hopefully the ending of this story will be a happy one, and you can join us in celebrating the end of Skyler’s Autism and the beginning of the next chapter in his life.