An Employee’s Autism Story
April is Autism Awareness Month and it is always welcomed in my family with great joy and happiness for two reasons: 1.) It gives my family an opportunity to spread the word about this silent disease and 2.) My family gets to celebrate the new experiences a child has with the world every day.
The little things in life, things I used to take for granted, have become the most important things in life. To stop and enjoy the world a little at a time seems like such a waste of time when you can take it all in at once, however a person with Autism is overwhelmed taking everything in at once, so they must enjoy one thing at a time, little by little. My name is Dawn, a local Shield HealthCare Customer Service Agent and I have a 9-year-old autistic daughter named Jordan. It was this month 7 years ago that we were told Jordan was autistic and would not be normal to society’s standards. It has not been an easy road, however she has come a long way and she has taught me many things.
The biggest and most important lesson that Jordan has taught our family would have to be to not celebrate the failed moments and instead thrive in little accomplishments. Many people like myself celebrate failed moments when something negative happens during the day. We as adults celebrate it, we talk about it on our breaks, we talk about it on our lunches, we talk about it on our way home, at home, and sometimes the very next day we are still talking about it. That, my friends, is celebrating your failed moments. Jordan has been my greatest teacher when it comes to thriving in the little accomplishments.
Every day I tell each of my kids I love you, have a great day and to make wise choices. My oldest daughter and my son always say I love you too and have a great day, as well. My “Jordie Jor” usually just looks at me without saying a word and heads into school. Well, one particular day I decided to ask her “Do you love mommy?” She looked at me and said, “Ummmm… I don’t think so.” I was so happy I jumped out of the car, grabbed her and twirled her around and around! We celebrated the fact that she was not certain she loved me because this would be her first full sentence and perhaps the first time she understood the concept of like and dislike, or feeling and emotions.
This huge success earned Jordan and her siblings a trip to Disneyland, the greatest place on Earth (or so I thought). From the moment we got there Jordan was uncertain and five minutes into the park, Jordan had an episode (an overload). It was too loud and too busy with lights and people. I tried my best to calm her when a lady walked up to us and said, “Can’t you get your child under control?” I stated, “She is autistic!” The woman said, “She doesn’t look autistic.” So I take this time to bring awareness to this special silent syndrome we call Autism. We are blessed to have them; it’s not the other way around! Not only during Autism Awareness Month but every day, I ask that you support an autistic child by thriving in little accomplishments and not failed moments.
-Dawn, Shield HealthCare Customer Service Agent
Visit the Grow with Shield HealthCare community today to learn something new!