9 years ago God blessed me with a son. 7 years ago I had my second child. God had blessed me with a daughter. We named my son Joshuah and my daughter Israyel. We were going through so much at that time. It is really a whirl wind of memories. Josh our oldest was struggling and we were throwing around the idea of a diagnosis of autism. I was doing a lot of reading and research about what autism was and thinking, "Could my son have this??".
Fast forward a year or so. We just got Josh settled into therapies. It was an easy diagnosis for the the neurologist. Josh was a classic case of autism. We had invested close to a year in early intervention and he was graduating into the early childhood program with the public schools. He was three. I had about three hours a day to devote to my daughter while Josh was at school. She was just starting to walk and do her own thing. With all the free time I begin seeing some tell tell signs of autism in her. Tip toe walking and lots of hand flapping. It was hard to get her attention when she would drift off into her "own little world". We had her hearing tested just to make sure. The audiologist was surprised by how good her hearing was. This was looking like autism all over again. We had her tested and sure enough. She was an easy diagnosis for classic autism.
I made up in my mind that I was going to be the best mom I could possibly be and I was going to start by learning as much as I could about autism and checking out therapies and treatments available. I feel like thus far my kids have had the best. We have had some amazing service providers, teachers, schools, doctors, dentists, and therapists. It was from that point, I made up in my mind to be "that mom".
I have prayed for wisdom. My prayer went a little like this...
"God, I know kids do not come with an instruction manual, but if you will just grant me the wisdom to raise them to be what you want them to be, I'll do my very best to be the mom that they need me to be." God didn't give me a magical instruction manual with "how to's" on autism, but he put some incredible people in my life that I have learned so much from them. Doctors and professionals that have devoted their lives to helping and providing resources and services to individuals affected by autism as well as their families. I feel pretty lucky. Along with these professionals, we have wrote books such as "Stars In Her Eyes, Navigating the Maze of Childhood Autism" and "Steps, Forming Disability Ministry". With these authors we have developed a non profit known as "Stars 4 Autism". We provide "Autism Friendly" training to Businesses, Eating establishments, churches, and schools. Together we have become quite successfully at reaching out into our community to support individuals effected by autism. Click on any of the books and it will take you to Amazon where you can feel free to purchase any of them there.
We are now a homeschooling family, which is just a little bit different. I promise that I did not take this decision lightly. Over the past several years many families who have children with autism are homeschooling their children as a means for a more individualized education. Individuals ranging from low functioning autism to high functioning are making the move to home education. It has proven to be a challenging, but very rewarding journey for our family. In 2016, I released "That Autism Mom's Guide to Homeschooling", a book for families looking at homeschooling with autism. It's a small informational book that mom's on the go will have time to finish.
I never want one mom to feel like they are on this journey by themselves. I started That Autism Mom as a place to share resources and provide support for families taking this journey with autism. I have felt incredibly lonely at times. My life has changed drastically from what it was before autism. God has been the source of my strength and provided me with the grace to keep moving forward.
Thank you for joining me at that autism mom,
Shelli, My Kids MOM