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Sunday, October 4, 2015

Autism Parenthood Changes Parents

In The Politics of Autism, I discuss the day-to-day challenges facing autistic people and their families.
Once they start receiving services, parents have to become case managers, coordinating the work of multiple providers. Some services take place in the home, but others (especially speech and occupational therapy) require a trip to an office far away. "Appointments. Lots of appointments," says one autism parent who drives two hours from a home in Rolla to a care center in Columbia, Missouri.
Jennifer Lovy explains at The Huffington Post:
I'm a relatively quiet person, but after my son Evan was diagnosed with autism I became an advocate in ways I could never have imagined. I've advocated for his bus drivers, his teachers, his school social worker, his friends and their families and most important, I've advocated for Evan.

When it comes to writing a letter or a quick phone conversation, speaking up for my son is easy. But when advocacy involves a public presentation (which I define as talking in front of three or more people), I panic. But then I think of Evan. And I don't just think about his needs but instead what he does when faced with an uncomfortable situation.

Evan is constantly challenging himself by working hard to overcome his fears. Watching him inspires me.