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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.

Finding Cooper’s Voice Brunch: A Place I Belonged

By Jaime Ramos / May 5, 2022 /

The kind of isolation I feel as the mom to an autistic child is hard to explain. For me it is not always being alone or being ostracized by others. I grew up one of six kids. I can handle alone because it was my sanctuary as a child. This is different. I remember before we even knew it was autism, I began searching. Searching for what was happening. Instead of enjoying play groups or church, I was anxiously watching my son behave differently than the other toddlers. I would…

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You are Making a Difference

By Kate Swenson / May 3, 2022 /

I don’t typically call out comments on this page, especially negative, off-the-wall ones. Because if I do, I get scolded for giving them attention, or bullying the bully, or whining. But this comment, this one had me in stitches. I shared a beautiful post the other day about my son saying ‘cars.’ It was one of the most amazing moments of my life. It received nearly 3,000 supportive comments and one negative. One. From Anne. Anne was scolding me. She looked at the post about the 11-year-old boy saying his…

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The Best Birthday Gift

By Kate Swenson / April 25, 2022 /

This morning I walked downstairs to my sweet boy sitting on the couch, surrounded by his treasures. He waved. It was quick though. He was very busy watching his shows. He takes his show watching very serious. Especially on weekend mornings. ‘Cooper, it’s mom’s birthday today!’ I said. Now I don’t know what I expected. Not words of course. But a cheer. A smile. A gasp. But nothing. He looked back down. It stung. Like a tiny bee sting or a poke in the side. But the pain is duller…

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“When is it Sawyer’s Turn?”

By Kate Swenson / April 25, 2022 /

As a mama I often feel like my mind is a Rolodex of memories. With four babies, I have so many of them. Births to birthdays, first smiles to first steps. Preschool graduation. Home runs. Road-trips. Some are readily available. Resurfacing often, bringing simultaneous smiles and tear to my eyes. But others, they are buried down deep, seemingly forgotten, until something reminds me. A sound. A smell. Another child. My younger babies doing what the now older ones once did. And there it is. A memory of something not forgotten.…

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Always try One More Thing

By Kate Swenson / April 25, 2022 /

People ask me every single day what advice I would give to parents of newly diagnosed kids. It’s a big question and I can think of so many things I would tell them. But one thing, the most important thing, the one that I feel is vital is… Always try one more thing. I can’t tell you how important it is. When I have been at my lowest, not knowing how to help my misunderstood little boy, both of us beat down by this world, I’ve wanted to give up.…

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He’s My Home

By Kate Swenson / April 25, 2022 /

My ‘older’ middle son has been having some big feelings lately. He is 9 years old and sandwiched in between two very big personalities and a baby sister. I think sometimes it can be lonely to be the ‘easy’ one. His dad and I are working for hard to make sure he knows how magnificent and treasured he is. And doing our best to navigate some uncharted waters. We want to speak to his heart. Last night a movie on the couch with popcorn and tickles. This morning a doughnut…

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We Touch Our Hearts

By Kate Swenson / April 23, 2022 /

My son Cooper knows some sign language. Like many parents, when we realized that he wasn’t babbling, we dove into baby sign language. More. Yes. No. Help. Cookie. Ball. Sit. All done. Thank you. The important ones. As he got older, and his fingers and hands didn’t seem to cooperate in the way we hoped, his signs got less and less. As he aged, we turned our focus to a speech device. A computer that speaks at the touch of a button. I’m telling you this because something beautiful just…

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He has Always Needed Me Differently

By Kate Swenson / April 23, 2022 /

I have four kids. All are very different. Unique in their own ways. And each demand something different from me. That’s the beauty of motherhood I suppose. Last night, my oldest son, had his first therapeutic horseback riding lesson. He is 11 and autistic and was excited and nervous. He got on the horse. He did it. And as I walked alongside him, sweat dripping down my back, I felt joyful and a bit tired. I was the only mom in the ring, which after 11 years, I am used…

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Mama, I Give You Permission to Rest

By Kate Swenson / April 22, 2022 /

I give you permission to rest mama. To set down what you are carrying. I can see the weight of it all. You carry it so well. People call you inspiring. They speak of you as an inspiration. Someone to aspire too. But the weight is no lighter for you than for anyone else. I know that. And so often, the world overlooks and forgets to see the ones who carry the weight well. You are tired mama. So, put it down. I give you permission. Take the day. The…

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He can Show Me

By Kate Swenson / April 18, 2022 /

I just got home from two days away from my babies. When my husband pulled up in the arrivals section of the airport, I practically ran to the vehicle. There is nothing better than coming home. Sawyer, one of my middles, opened the door and jumped in my arms. My other middle, Harbie, screamed….’mommy!! I’ve. Been. Waiting. For. You!’ And my daughter, Wynnie, she was all smiles. With Cooper, he’s more standoffish. A wave. A coy smile. When I climbed back to him, he immediately grabbed my hand and pulled…

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