Okay – the word that most stands out in that question. Okay.
We’d just received our three year old son Jack’s official autism diagnosis, something of which I had suspected since his birth. (I’ll share more on that in future posts, so stay tuned.) My husband dealt with the news by calling his family members to let them know. The following day, my husband attended his grandfathers viewing, a small affair for an incredible man, but due to restrictions around Covid-19, the gathering was kept pretty intimate. I had decided to remain home with my two small children to help reduce their exposure to the virus along with thoughts that they were just too young to attend.
It seemed news of our son’s diagnosis had spread rather quickly even though we had only told his parents and two siblings. Nevertheless, my husband was approached by a family member who asked in a very concerned manner “Is he going to be okay?” My husband was surprised by the question but answered that yes, he was going to be just fine.
My husband relayed this interesting exchange to me later that evening as we were in bed. I was somewhat incredulous, yet at the same time not surprised in the least, which is what has inspired me to create this blog. It is 2020 and we still have work to do in spreading awareness on ASD.
Now, I know that I’m not the first to start something like this, nor will I be the last, and I think that’s outstanding. We need to bring more light and awareness to ASD. (Autism Spectrum Disorder) There was certainly a time in my life where I wasn’t really aware of what it meant to have autism or even really what it was so I won’t pass judgment on anyone else. I’ll do my part in helping educate others and standing up for my son. I’m learning more everyday myself.
I was fortunate to have had some really amazing opportunities to work with adults with special needs in a Post High school program with my local school district where I lived at the time. I was 23, still living with my parents (though I was engaged and married not long after starting this job) and also worked another full time job. I had gone through some college courses but wasn’t sure what direction I wanted to go with that so I had put that on the back burner. Since I wasn’t doing anything else with my spare time, I took on the Post High job as a Transition Trainer. It was my job to help incorporate everyday life skills to the students in my group in hopes of having them gain independence and ultimately be able to live on their own with job experience and be able to maintain stable employment.
Through this amazing opportunity, I was enlightened and educated greatly and by everyday exposure and experience with these extraordinary individuals, they helped me learn and grow probably more than I ever helped them.
Is he going to be okay? I chose not be offended by this sentiment for I know that the question was coming from a place of genuine concern and probably mere curiosity due to a lack of education about autism. This again brings me to my hopes, thoughts and inspiration on creating this blog space. I hope that it will be able to bring more awareness and understanding to those individuals and families living with or as someone on the autism spectrum and the stigmas that surround it. I also hope to create a safe space for families to come together for support and love and even share experiences they have had and how they have grown from them.
I believe that Jack already IS much more than okay. He’s so incredibly smart. He’s thoughtful in ways I don’t even think to be. He’s loving. He’s the best big brother to his sweet little sister, he can make her laugh easier and more than anyone else. He’s active and athletic and loves sports. He’s so funny and silly. The most handsome boy. The best son. He has a never ending curiosity and loves to figure new things out. He had a fierce love of washing machines and doing laundry. For that, his Momma is forever grateful. He’s always reminding me to get the clothes out of the washer and into the dryer. I don’t know what I’d do without him! He gives the best snuggles. Has the best laugh and an infectious smile. He loves to jump, and has been jumping since he could hold his head up. That is the inspiration behind the blog title. I hope to bring awareness and light to others lives by sharing our families journey with autism and hope to educate and enlighten those who don’t understand. This is Jumping with Jack.
Wishing you well,