My Autism Journey!

In a few hours, I'm announcing that I've written my first book.

n a few hours, I'm announcing that I've written my first book.

This accomplishment was not on my radar for 2017 and I definitely didn't set out for this to be a personal goal. But nevertheless, this week, I completed the manuscript for my first book and I decided to write about my autism journey.

You see, I don't talk about autism very often. It's something very personal to our family. I know this may sound crazy but the word autism doesn't even come up in our family discussions that often. I don't understand why. It's just not something we talk about - mainly because it's our normal. There are no autism stickers on our car. We've never attended an Autism Speaks event or rally. We don't participate in any autism social groups either. In 2015, I did attend a Autism Research Symposium in Dallas where Jenny McCarthy was the keynote speaker, but I got so overwhelmed by all the vendors trying to sell me a cure, I just turned around and walked out. However, I did meet some really nice Autism Moms who are my Facebook friends still today and they are just amazing.

As a matter of fact, many of the Autism Moms I meet or follow online are Autism Warrior Moms in my opinion. I'm just amazed at how dedicated they are in raising awareness about this issue. I wish I was more like them but I'm a different kind of Autism Mom.

I'm the type of Autism mom that has her head down, focused on managing the day-to-day challenges of this diagnosis. I don't have time for much else. I have three children and two of them are on the Autism Spectrum. My son, Cameron, who is 18, has Asperger's Syndrome and my daughter, Mari, who is 12, is a moderate/high-functioning autistic.

Now, I don't know how this diagnosis happened to my children or why it happened. Hell, I really don't care! All I know is that Mari and Cameron are amazing children and my job as their mom is to support them in achieving whatever goals they have for their life.

Why I'm Talking Now

A couple of months ago, I had three big events (all tragic in my eyes) rock my world and I found myself totally lost. One of my good friends suggested that I write what I was feeling down somewhere and see if that would help me feel better. And so I did. 

At first, I started writing in my journal and before I knew it I had created a Google Doc and started transferring what I had handwritten. All of sudden, a book was forming and six weeks later I had a completed manuscript.

 The book tells the story about my autism journey with my son, Cameron and the impact that autism has had on the both of our lives. We've had to sacrifice a lot and for some reason it felt like the right time for me to talk about it. I couldn't be silent any more. It was a tough subject to write about. And even though I knew the outcome of our journey, it was still painful reliving some of the tough moments.

If you met my son today, you would see a kind, confident, ambitious young man far different from the sad and depressed nine-year old Cameron. In the past ten years, Cameron has had an incredible transformation. However, I would be the first to admit that we truly came out lucky.  For most young men with Asperger's Syndrome, their outcome by the time they are adults is very different than what Cameron experienced. The odds are that many of these young men will find themselves on drugs, incarcerated or suicidal. I'm not sure what the solution should be for solving this problem, but I would first start with acceptanceadvocacy and then love

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Why I Wrote My Book

I wrote my book in honor of my son and the many other autism moms and dads that wonder what the future holds for their children. I wondered that for many years. But about 5 years ago, I decided to take matters into my own hands and create a roadmap for my son's future. I called it Project 2017. The objective was to prepare him for college by creating three types of goals - academic, behavioral and social. What triggered me to do this was when one of Cameron's 7th grade teachers told me that Cameron's chances of graduating from high school was 50/50 and that college was completely out of the question. I told her she was absolutely wrong, got up and left. 

In the end, I was right. Our Project 2017 plan worked and Cameron graduated from high school this year with almost a 3.0 GPA. This fall, he enrolled at Ohlone College and have just completed his first semester of college.

I couldn't be more proud of what we've accomplished. My hope and desire is that our story inspires other Autism families.

I named my book, "Wait, Did You Say Autistic? A Mother's Journey of Acceptance and Advocacy." I have a release date scheduled for March/April 2018 just in time for Autism Awareness Month.

Wishing you all Happy Holidays! 

#team5million #teampurpose #teamserve #teamlegacy

 
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