Autism things considered

Having a child on the autism spectrum gives me a lot to wonder about. Why were we destined to be challenged every day? How different (not better, different) would our lives have been otherwise? How much money would we have had if it wasn’t spent on interventions and support?

With all those notions clouding my brain, it can be hard for the blessings of having a child on the spectrum to shine through, but when they do, they glow. Like neon signs, flashing in front of my face.

I had one of those neon moments when I was asked to record a radio piece for Life Love & Health about some of the trials and triumphs that our family experiences.

Life, Love & Health launched in 2003 and has become America’s most listened-to daily health and lifestyle program, reaching over 6.1 million listeners.

You can listen to the piece here.

Barbara Gaither joined me on the program – she’s the mom of Easter Seals 2008 National Child Representative Scottie Gaither. We shared our stories with Chris Springmann, executive producer and host of the program.

I shared one particular story about how Adam’s autism impacts my younger son, Mark. At a very young age, my keen, insightful Mark noticed my struggles with Adam and said, “It must be hard being you.”

I agreed, and cried. Is it okay for me to reveal it’s hard? Am I supposed to make this look easy? Is it possible to fool anyone into thinking it’s easy to live each day supporting a loved one who struggles so hard with communication, with social ineptness, with excessive fears?

The producer, Chris was one of those folks you feel comfortable with right away. He was warm and encouraging. He asked questions like a friend, not like a reporter.

I answered questions like a friend, not like a pretender.

The neon sign went off for me when I found out that Life Love & Health radio spots get picked up on National Public Radio and XM Satellite Radio. I have listened to National Public Radio for decades, and one thing on my ever-growing “to-do-in-life” list is to record a bit for National Public Radio.

Chris helped me check that off my list. Recording this radio bit for Life Love & Health also helped me expose a few notions about life’s challenges. Best of all, it helped me notice one more neon sign along the journey.


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  1. KP Says:

    Thank you, too, Barbara, for your inspiration!

  2. Barbara Gaither Says:

    You did a great job on the radio, as well as with this blog. I felt the same way you did about my interview with Christopher. Scottie was with me at the time and truly enjoyed the experience. I completely get what you are saying about neon sign moments in life with a child on the spectrum and I am blessed to say those are coming more and more often these days for me and our family. Thanks for sharing from your heart.
    Barbara Gaither