The Box of Kleenex on the Table

On the 24th of August, my husband and I sat hand in hand to finish a year long diagnostic journey to understand why our son Romeo lives in such silence.

I could feel Gerardo’s fingers stroke my knuckles as the words spilled from the specialists mouth.

As they sat and explained therapies, research, support groups…my mind wandered to the Kleenex box on the table.

My child wasn’t sick, his life wasn’t in danger and the world didn’t stop turning.

Romeo didn’t stop being Romeo.

We just had a name for the reason why he sometimes does the things he does, why he has hardly any conversation words but can count to 100 and read words from books.

Romeo has Autism.

I didn’t understand why there needed to be Kleenex on the table when some kids his age can talk but can’t say their ABC’s and here is our son able to understand English, Italian and Spanish and a little box of tissues on the table told me I should be sad about this.

The box of Kleenex didn’t belong here.

The diagnosis gave us fuel, ammunition even, to support our son’s growth and life journey.

We educated ourselves.

We threw away the expectations we unknowingly had set for our son and set foot on a path to support each other, support other families and educate people that different isn’t a bad thing or a good thing.

Different is just that…different.

So, why have we chosen now to speak out?

Well, there’s enough awareness about, with 1 in 68 children being diagnosed with autism in 2017. And no doubt while your reading this your thinking of someone (an adult even!) you know who sits on the spectrum.

We wrote this to start a conversation.

Talk to your spouse, talk to your friends, talk to your children. Make them aware that different isn’t scary.

Different is okay. It’s challenging and exciting.

Teach them that everyone is individually wired to see and feel the world in their own way.

Teach them that different is normal. It’s the belief that it’s not normal that’s making it “different” anyway.

Written by, Amy Iacullo 

You can follow Amy and her family’s journey at A Typical Mum.

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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 our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook, subscribe for exclusive videos, and subscribe to our newsletter.

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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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When my son was first diagnosed with autism no one was talking about it. Autism was hidden. I vow to change that.
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