It’s not easy raising children, believe me. It’s especially difficult when you have a child that is not deemed “normal” to the rest of the world. For those who don’t know, I have a son, Jaxon, who has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). He’s also non-verbal, so having a conversation with them is nearly impossible.
We had a feeling something wasn’t right with him around age 1. He wasn’t saying simple words. He wasn’t making eye contact with people. That was simple intuition, but we also did research and spoke to parents whose kids are on the spectrum as well. We saw many therapists and pediatricians to confirm what we suspected. During that time, some were quick to contribute his lack of speaking to being a late bloomer, or worse, us speaking for him. The thought crossed my mind on numerous occasions, but in the back of my mind, something told me that what we suspected was true. Anyway, after many visits, we got confirmation of what we believed: Jaxon has autism.
Since the diagnosis back in August, raising him has been anything but boring, but it has come with a new set of challenges. Challenges that require a change of approach in raising him. Challenges that requiring more patience and understanding. Understanding that there may be no rhyme or reason to his behavior at times. That is the hardest thing for me to accept.
The other challenge in raising Jaxon is learning different ways to communicate. He shows eagerness in wanting to speak. We work with him and his teachers in saying simple words. Ultimately, we realize that he may not be able to speak full sentences and carry on conversations like most people. However, he does respond to sign language. Another sign that he wants to communicate to us. It’s a learning experience for all of us.
They say children have the ability to change your dynamics. I believe that to be true. My kids have changed who I am and my outlook on life. I will do anything to make sure my kids have the best means to live a fulfilled life. Jaxon has shifted my thoughts on having a “fulfilled life.” Regardless of his makeup, we love Jaxon for who he is. He’s just as valuable as my wife, my daughter, or any other member of my family. There are days where I wish for him to be like everyone else. He will in the fact that he will continue to grow and learn. The thing is, I don’t want him to change who he is. He has a spirit and an energy that you want for yourself. It’s what makes him, and every child, such a treasure.