Grateful…for autism?

FamilyIt has been eight years since we started our amazing journey with Scottie as the Easterseals 2008 National Child Representative. Time really gets away from us, but we frequently talk about the trips that we took and the amazing opportunities we had to meet and speak to so many folks about what Easterseals and autism have meant in our lives. We occasionally still get a chance to speak at some Easterseals events, and it is always an honor.

This month, as we prepare for another Thanksgiving Day together as a family, I am grateful for my busy family, our health and all the help, love, hope and opportunity that Easterseals has brought into our lives.

This time of year, I find myself reflecting on what I am most grateful for. I have so many things in my life that have truly blessed me. One of the most amazing blessings? Having an autistic son.

Now, I can’t say that I’ve always felt that way. Scottie is a teenager now and prefers being called Scott — he doesn’t mind “Scottie,” but he’s grown up! As the years passed since that initial diagnosis in 2002, I’ve grown more and more thankful for him and his diagnosis.

Many would think that I’m crazy — and maybe I am a bit, but he is such a tremendous joy to me and our entire family. He has taught me not to take the little things in life for granted, and by watching him grow and learn, I have learned so very much.

It’s simply amazing.

Sometimes, I wonder what life without him would be like, or even life without him being autistic, and I cannot imagine it. At this point I don’t even want to. I wouldn’t change a thing about him even if I could.

Being selected as the Easterseals 2008 National Child Representative not only gave a lot more people an opportunity to know and love our wonderful son Scott when he was still a little boy, but it gave us
— as a family — a chance to give back. I currently serve as the chairperson of our local Easterseals board of directors — we give back to Easterseals as an organization because they have given us more than words could ever express.

Staying involved with Easterseals also gives us a chance to offer hope to other families facing the darkness of autism. I hope that somehow, by seeing and hearing our story, there will again be light.

So, as we gather to celebrate this Thanksgiving, I will give thanks for Scott and his sisters, Sarah and Carly, as well as my husband Shannon and all of our extended family — including our wonderful Easterseals family.


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  1. Larry David Says:

    I have asperger. I’m on the spectrum.

  2. Beth Finke Says:

    Thank you for reaching out to us, Reva. I will forward your question on to Easter Seals Information and Referral Services. They will get back to you soon with information about Easterseals affiliates that may be able to help.

  3. reva simmons Says:

    what is out there for an autistic child who is now 18. He was in a private pay very expensive ABA program for years, but is now denied entrance. The mother can not do it 24 hours a day and is worn out. Part time help is all she asks. The school is equipped for adult autism, but deny him entrance. Where is help for this loving, but very tired mom?

  4. reva simmons Says:

    What is out there for an an severely austitic child now 18 years old and being denied parttime care by a school he has gone to for years at thousands of dollars a month. The school has facilities for adult autism patients, but deny him. This is in Texas. The mother needs help. Where is the help

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