By Darren Harris
In 2012, my then two-year-old son, Henry, wasn’t displaying the typical behavioral attributes of a child his age. He was avoiding direct eye contact, wasn’t talking, and was very sensitive to loud noises. My wife and I researched the internet and finally concluded to have him assessed for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Upon receiving the formal diagnosis of Autism, my wife and I began looking for answers and guidance on how to proceed moving forward. To say we were overwhelmed looking for answers would be a major understatement.
Since that time, we’ve learned much about Autism and how to help Henry have the most productive life possible. It hasn’t been an easy road, nor will it be in the future; however, diagnosing Henry when we did helped us provide early intervention, which sets him up for the best success possible.
Some of the things we’ve learned about Autism include:
- 1 in 54 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
- Boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed with Autism than girls
- Autism can be reliably diagnosed as early as age two
- Autism affects all ethnic and socioeconomic groups
- Early intervention affords the best opportunity to support healthy development and deliver benefits across the lifespan
Henry is the best part of our family. He loves drawing, movies, his mother and siblings, nature, maps, animals, state birds, state flowers, In-N-Out Burger, bacon, and hot dogs. His favorite animal is a platypus, and we are his biggest fans.
Join me in raising awareness today, April 2nd, by wearing blue and pointing people to the Autism Speaks website at www.autismspeaks.org, should they have any questions or want to learn more.