When I was doing one of my first internships at Autism Speaks in 2010, I answered over 1,000 emails from parents/caregivers on how to help one of their loved ones on the autism spectrum. During that time, I gave advice on early intervention, therapies, schools, transitional programs, IEP meetings, social skills, visual schedules and much more.
Each time one of those questions came up, though, one of the constants I always reminded them about was this:
“YOU are your child’s greatest advocate. When the time comes, be educated, research, and trust your gut because you know your child best.”
As time has gone along and I’ve traveled the country speaking about my journey on the autism spectrum, I adopted a new saying I share with those who reach out to me on Facebook looking for advice. In addition to the above, now I also say…
“Autism doesn’t come with an instruction guide. It comes with a family who will never give up.”
Autism is not one-size-fits-all, so for everyone out there reading this, just remember to never give up. We learn more and more about autism every single day. I’ve overcome many of my challenges from when I was younger, and one of the reasons I advocate today is to help others do the same.