Autism Can Surf

Looking back over the last few months, my heart and mind fill with emotions. At one time, I thought so many things might not ever happen. My boy, Jake was diagnosed with autism at age two and has been nonverbal his whole life. Well, autism..

Then it happened.

My sweet Jake is now 19 years old and if I counted the times I’ve heard through the years the things he would not do, I might have given up.

As parents we have dreams way before our kids are born. I had dreams of football, big trucks and girls.

FOOTBALL, BIG TRUCKS AND GIRLS

When Autism comes it’s like a sucker punch, and then every so often it punches again and again, reminding you of those “lost” dreams.

LOST DREAMS. Like a thief in the night.

Then it happened.

Time does not stop just because of a diagnosis and those milestones that all parents wait for, pass by, and sometimes with a broken heart realizing what autism has taken.

Age 16, was one of the harder ones for me, because go back to my initial dreams…Big Trucks! It hit like a ton of bricks we wouldn’t be buying a big truck. I was determined to give my guy dreams to remember.

I pleaded to those around the world to send cards to my guy, and 4000 some odd cards later, a trip to Atlanta and more joy than I imagined, his 16th birthday passed.. Autism did not steal that milestone, it just came in a different dream.

The following years are like a whirlwind, because just like that, autism was not ruling our home any longer. It seems that our kiddos do have the possibility of new pathways beginning to fire in the teen years. And for us, opened doors we didn’t see coming.

AUTISM CAN

Then it happened..

As May of 2018 rolled in, so did graduation! Did you catch that? My boy graduated, high school, with a high school diploma in hand. He sailed through the ceremony, used his communication device to speak to his audience! I don’t think there was a dry eye that whole night. Smiles galore.

AUTISM CAN

Traveling for autism parents…many just resign to the fact that it just is not in the cards. We have been there, and have missed a lot of things, well, because autism happened. It wasn’t but three years ago, we traveled as a family hours to the beach, and in a solitary second, the biggest meltdown of our lives let loose, and we ended up making a 10 hour round trip back home, all while this meltdown ensued.

I remember crying and wondering if this was what the rest of our lives would be like. A 6 hour meltdown will do that to your mind.

Back to present day:

This summer Jake and I took a challenge at our local library to read as many books as we can. To date we have read 66 books and are 63% to the goal of a certificate…why? Because, AUTISM CAN!

This past weekend, I myself decided to travel those same roads with Jake, alone. Ya’ll, when I say I planned and worked harder to execute this adventure than a wedding planner, I am not kidding. We were heading to a event called Autism Surfs..

Boy am I glad I did.

I had prepped Jake. We read books on traveling and books on surfing.

His feet hit the sand and he never looked back, except to make sure Mama was watching. It happened, he surfed, and surfed. Pride, progress and perseverance happened.

Autism does surf!

 

Written by, Luanne Helms

Luanne and her husband live in Opelika, Alabama. Luanne is a Autism Safety Specialist, training First Responders in Autism Risk and safety Management. She has two children, Katy 24, and Jake 19.

Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook and subscribe to our newsletter.

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  • Kendralyn

    July 30, 2018 at 3:13 pm
    Reply

    I watched and heard a friend this weekend cry as her 5 year old non-verbal autistic son surfed for the first time as well. The […] Read MoreI watched and heard a friend this weekend cry as her 5 year old non-verbal autistic son surfed for the first time as well. The joy they felt in those moments is indescribable! Autism Surfs! Read Less

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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