Autism Awareness & an Update

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Our meeting at Fairview school could not have come at a more appropriate time. The day after World Autism Day. Matt and I were nervous as we tried to keep our minds clear, but we had questions prepared to make sure that we were advocating for Liam in an appropriate manner.

Nothing could have prepared us for this meeting. Not the packets that came. Not the 4 therapy sessions a week for the last 7 months. Not the autism diagnosis. Nothing.

The only way that we were prepared was our answered prayer for wisdom and clear minds. We were able to sit around a table with another set of professionals and discuss the process of Liam entering school. We were quick to ask questions and made sure we understood the process. We made sure that they knew that we are parents that are present and will advocate for our son. Success.

Then we went into the gym to observe 2 autism classes and 1 typical class playing.

I don’t know how to describe what happened next.

To see children with more severe cases of autism and children without autism playing together was more difficult than I imagined. Liam has had many opportunities to play around typically developing children, but this was different.

I instantly felt shame for feeling so hopeful for Liam. I felt overwhelmed with compassion for the parents of the children with a more severe case of autism. And in all honesty, I felt angry for the difference of the kids with autism {Liam included} and those who were developing in a typical manner.

We have a brilliant support system. We have people that love and care for us and Liam, and because of that our breaths have never been taken away the way they were today.

As I began to process what we saw today, I realized that this is a small part of the Autism awareness that the world needs. The world needs our stories. The world needs help understanding. Some journey’s are easier than others, but the world needs to understand what autism is, not to dismiss it, and to ask for change on the behalf of others.

We are full of hope for Liam. While we now understand that this battle is a bit more challenging than we knew before, we have hope that Liam will be successful.

However. There are families that can not say that. There are families without the insurance that affords them the therapy to make a difference in the outcome for their child{ren}. There are families that can’t take their children anywhere because they are afraid of what the public will say to them. There are parents who never leave the house and are depressed and therefore not able to advocate for their children. They need our help. They need our understanding. They need us to help them when they are out in public. They need our prayers. They need hope that anchors their souls.

So how can we help a parent of a child that has autism? Be kind. Be helpful. Listen. Ask questions. Be an advocate for change.

We don’t know where Liam will be this fall. We don’t know what kind of classroom he will be in. But we have hope. We have resolve. We have certainty that this fall is only a small piece to the very big picture in Liam’s life. Please pray with us that we would have continued wisdom and guidance and creativity to give Liam the best possible surroundings to lead him on to success.

Thank you for your love and support. We have an amazing community around us and it’s our desire that everyone could have that as well.

XO-Team Oakes

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