The number one question I get all the time was you did not know that your child had autism? How did you not know that you spend every day with them? I really don’t have a good answer, but there were a few things that came in to play for one, this was 22 years ago, I had no idea what the symptoms of autism were or the signs.

Back in that time you had to research  everything at a library  or go to a doctor there was no Google to ask. Even if there had been autism, only affected one out of every 165 children  today it affects one out of every 44. You also have to know my husband to know why I did not suspect autism. My husband, John is very quiet. He can go for five hours and never say a word. Sometimes we will be in the house and I will have to go look and make sure he still in the house because he is so quiet. I also had four other very rowdy children and was thankful to have a quiet baby as bad as that, sounds when I look back on it now.

Debra Mcdaniel, who owns super kids daycare, where all of my children went was the first to bring it to my attention. She asked me if I noticed that Justin would turn in circles and look at the sky , flap his hands or that he would do this funny, kind of swing dance just making sure that his arms and legs were in the same motion, he also pushed away affection even from his brothers. He wanted his toys lined up all in a row. He wanted things to be very quiet, and at the sound of a slamming door, a train or a plane, he would hold his hands over his ears, as if he just could not stand the noise. He also tended to get very upset over things which I had chalked up to he is the baby he gets his way, so that’s why he gets upset , she suggested that we have him tested, and I agreed after all if there’s some thing the matter I want to be the person who knows and who can help fix it immediately, especially when it comes to my children. 

The pediatrician that diagnosed Justin was a friend of mine and I will never forget him saying that Justin is mentally retarded will never have speech and will more than likely end up in an institution . I just looked at him and as he looked back at me, I guess something fired up in my eyes and he said Donna don’t don’t push this child just let him be who he is and love him for who he is. I do love all my children for who they are, but make no mistake. I push all of them. Justin included like a good drill sergeant. We quickly found out that kids are kids and if you give a kid a inch they will take a mile. He needed discipline just like all the rest and an even stricter schedule. It took over a year to get his diagnosis once we had it officially. We began working with different therapies. I don’t feel bad that I did not know that he had autism I had never been around anyone with autism. 

Don’t beat yourself up for not knowing. Know better , do better has always been my motto. Just take it one day at a time. Oh and by the way that Dr was partially right Justin did end up in an institution. One of higher learning last May he graduated from Auguste Eschoffier culinary school in Boulder, Colorado.  Just because your child has autism doesn’t mean autism has to have your child.