I spend a lot of my 'free time' reading and learning as much as I can about autism. I avidly read blog postings, books, articles, and Twitter updates in an attempt to understand what my son goes through on a daily basis. I remember leaving the neurologist's office the day we received the diagnosis and I knew what I had to do. I would have to educate myself, but it has never really felt like homework. The process has always been enlightening and I have to say I truly enjoy learning new things on a daily basis. It's amazing to see all the networking capabilities that we can now use to our advantage. Parents in similar situations reaching out for help or to share their children's latest accomplishments are what I find helps me the most on an emotional level. The challenges that my wife and I face are not unique even though there are times when we feel we are all alone and up against this baffling disorder.
I did not know much, if anything, about autism when Diego was diagnosed in 2008. Now things like echolalia, occupational and speech therapy, tantrums, ABA, TEACCH, and IEPs are all a big part of our family life. I feel so proud when he makes progress and we love celebrating all of his achievements, big and small. The speech has been extremely hard for him but he is making progress.
So now that I have immersed myself in his world I can find it difficult to relate to parents of 'typically developing' children. Our daily lives are just so different on almost every level.
It is ironic that as much as I am trying to pull my son out of his own world and into ours, I am drawn more and more into the world of autism...