Thursday, May 23, 2013

Maybe...He Has Autism

Autism Speaks has just launched a new campaign targeting the Latino community to raise awareness. And I am grateful. When The Boy was first diagnosed, I had no idea what autism was. I didn't think it could happen to us.

Earlier this week we "celebrated" our 5 year autism anniversary.

Five years ago there were so many maybes.

Maybe he's just being a boy.
Maybe I'm not doing enough.
Maybe he'll talk tomorrow. 
Maybe he's not ready. 
Maybe I'm worrying for nothing. 

There were too many maybes and too many people whispering them in my ear.

I started blogging because I could not see a family that looked like mine in any book I read. Autism, any kind of disability, isn't something Latinos openly talk about. We have been conditioned to be ashamed of it. To keep it to ourselves. We are scared of the label.

When The Boy was first diagnosed my mother couldn't believe it. "El no es asi," she said. (He is not like that.) And then she said that I shouldn't tell anyone. But it's important for parents to talk about. We need to feel like we are not alone.

We cannot expect communities to be accepting if we are not open. If you have any maybe in your head - go to your doctor, ask for a referral to a specialist. 

I don't always agree with Autism Speaks, I'm not looking for a cure for The Boy. I want him to be understood. I want our community to recognize the signs of autism. To accept it. And to get the services they need.

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AutismWonderland - written by Lisa Quinones-Fontanez - is a personal blog chronicling a NYC family's journey with autism, while also sharing local resources for children/families with special needs.