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Welcome to the Secret World of Autism

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.

She Has A Friend

By Jennifer Dunn / August 15, 2022 /

When my daughter began her new school, I was hopeful. I knew there would be some learning and life skills but if I am being honest what I really wanted most for her was a friend. Of course, I wanted her to learn and to become more independent and all those things are happening, but a friend was something I wanted for her. My daughter does not have sleepovers or go to the mall with a friend. She does not talk on the phone (is that still a thing?) but…

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The First Time I Heard Autism

By Jaime Ramos / August 11, 2022 /

Hot, sweaty, and out of breath in the middle of winter I sat in a full doctor’s office lobby. Due to construction, the area we were in held patients waiting for the pediatricians as well as those waiting for gynecologists. It was packed. My newly two year-old son would not hold still while we waited. I chased him around the room and brought him back to his chair over and over. The waiting area wasn’t enclosed and there were stairs nearby. Not ideal. Names were being called one by one…

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Little Big Things

By Kate Swenson / August 9, 2022 /

When I share my son’s autism, my favorite parts to share are the little big things. The moments that happen that are so huge, yet so subtle, that sometimes I don’t realize they happened until hours later. Like this morning. At 3 am. When I was awake with a toddler who refuses to develop a love for sleep like her mama. My son Cooper is 11 years old. A tween. A soon to be sixth grader. He loves bullet trains, his grandparents, and episodes of Family Feud. He wants to…

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His Brother’s Safe Space

By Kate Swenson / July 18, 2022 /

A few days ago we took a boat ride. Sawyer brought two friends. A brother and sister who are very much a part of our family. The big kids, Cooper included, all wanted to sit in front and screamed at Jamie to go faster. They were also supposed to watch for logs but that part didn’t happen. As we boated along we hit some rough water. It only lasted a minute or so. Pretty common on a Friday on the St. Croix River. Anyhow, Cooper squealed as a bit of…

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Understanding and Acceptance

By Kate Swenson / July 17, 2022 /

People get really nervous around individuals who are non speaking. Or folks who use a wheelchair. Or who look different. I didn’t know that before I had my son Cooper. Before he led me wide eyed into the world of disability. Without knowing he showed me how a person can be invisible. A person standing front and center. Some of it’s subtle. The overlooking of a person. Some is not. And it’s hard to see. As his mom it’s hard to not get mad and sad and frustrated. Because I…

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Small Big Things

By Kate Swenson / July 11, 2022 /

Something huge happened yesterday. But amidst the chaos of putting on sunscreen and watching kids jump into the pool and picking up wet towels I missed it. I was busy throwing a party. I wasn’t paying attention to small big things. My son Cooper is 11 years old. He loves balloons and parties and the frosting on cupcakes. He said his first word at age 9. It was mom. He says it long and drawn out, pausing on each letter as if he’s plucking them down from the sky. MMM-AW-MMM.…

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A Brave Day

By Kate Swenson / July 11, 2022 /

Let me tell you about a boy. A boy who at eleven years old shows more bravery than most adults I know. But his bravery looks different so most overlook it. He has very few words. Not much for conversation. But his eyes…they tell a story. If you listen to him. Patiently. If you don’t rush him. And wait. He will tell you. If you don’t talk over him. Or speak for him. He will tell you how he hears things louder than you. And smells the faintest smells. And…

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I Wish Time Would Slow Down

By Kate Swenson / July 11, 2022 /

This one and I needed some time together. At 9 years old he’s in that in between space where he will hold my hand but can run to the concession and grab his own soda. He needs me but doesn’t fully. He lays his head on me when he’s tired and uses his own hand to cover my eyes during the scary parts. He’s not embarrassed of me. But also thinks I’m super old. He loves his siblings fiercely. But asked today if we could go to the movies just…

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Wild Ones

By Kate Swenson / July 11, 2022 /

Some kids are just mischievous. Wild. Busy. Exasperating. Curious. Spirited. All words we choose instead of naughty. They see a puddle and have to jump in it. A glass of water and have to dump it. A counter and have to climb it. They see a toy and immediately want to know how it works. How it’s wired. Taking it apart becomes vital. What’s it made of they think. They see mail and need to know what’s inside. A package becomes a possibility. It could be a Nerf gun or…

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Chloe

By Kate Swenson / July 11, 2022 /

Yesterday morning our sweet girl Chloe passed away. She has been with our family as long as we have been one. She’s grown with us as we added four babies, seen 8 houses, and aged 15 years. She’s our Chloe girl. She’s a permanent fixture in our life. For 15 years she’s patiently waited at the door for us to come home. She’s lost her hearing and her sight, so we had to gently wake her up when we would get home. We don’t want to startle her. She went…

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