FROM TONI: I was just thinking about the first time a Special Education teacher sat down with me solemnly and said the word “Autism”almost 5 years ago. I will never forget the bottom of my world falling out and feeling completely defeated.

I was completely at the mercy of others to tell me what was coming around the next corner for me and my family and of course my son. I remember watching Zac play through my blurred vision as tears poured down my cheeks in utter defeat… How could I have let this happen? Suddenly I “lost” all knowledge of how to be with my son, simply because someone else, who obviously is more educated and experienced with Autism than I, was describing to me how very little I actually knew about my own child. I went home that day and everything looked the same on the surface, but I was an utter mess. Who is this child that I brought home with me and how do I be with him?

I look back now with a smile and think to myself, “Wow, I really bought that!” Haha

I in fact bought into the idea that I didn’t know my child or what was best for him SO MUCH SO that in a matter of a few moments I had transformed myself from a loving mother doing the best I can for an obviously very different little boy, to a frightened fragile woman that was locked in a cage with a complete stranger that would become violent and unpredictable. Isn’t it interesting that from that very point Zac became a stranger to me that was unpredictable and violent? All because I bought into a belief, or a personal opinion that was made by someone that had observed my kid for an hour.

Today I am a smart shopper 🙂

Today I know that I do, in fact, KNOW BEST what my child needs.

After attending the Son-Rise Program Start-Up at the Autism Treatment Center of America, I discovered new HOPE for a child that I had lost all hope for. I believed in him and suddenly I realized that on that day at school the only thing that changed in my world was ME! Since then I have grown to trust, love and respect myself enough that my son notices my world so much more now… Who wants to gravitate towards ‘Gloom and Doom Land’ when you have lights and music all around you?? What an absolute blessing this life indeed can be! All for the same reasons that I created misery, I now see beauty.