Ines is a Mom to an 11 year old boy with Autism. This story is a glimpse into her life beginning with when she learned about Matthew’s diagnosis to a time where she was able to find beauty in the unexpected symptoms of Autism.
Silence was all my shock could muster. I remember the day vividly, the stark white walls, the doctor’s soft tone as he first spoke the word Autism. It was as if that word filled the entire space and sucked every bit of control from the room. Matthew was just 18 months old.
The doctor started, “Autism is a condition related to brain development that impacts how a person perceives and socializes with others, causing problems in social interaction and communication.” I remember nodding my head, but not really processing.
My husband had suspected the possibility, but I had not been able to see it. Sure, Matthew had missed milestones. He wasn’t copying noises and he preferred not to make eye contact. But couldn’t this just be a developmental delay? Kids have those, right?
But soon reality set in and when it did, all of our priorities changed. We quickly moved into making sure Matthew had everything he needed while processing what we could with each step forward.
There were…Therapies, counselors, and lots of tears.
Countless Doctors, insurance companies, and more tears.
Paperwork, hard conversations with friends and family members, and more tears.
My husband and my mother-in-law became a safe place for me as we navigated these uncharted waters. They helped carry the burden of the unwanted stares and little whispers. When I was overwhelmed, they stepped in. Raising a child requires a village, but it has to be one you trust wholeheartedly to advocate for you child. I am so thankful I had that.
Truthfully, the first year or two were a whirlwind of figuring everything out. But as I look back to those years, I realize just how much my heart grew. Certainly there were uphill battles and those will continue as time passes. But even in our challenges, we are grateful. We celebrate every milestone for what it is: a miracle.
The doctor never mentioned the best “symptoms” of Matthew’s diagnosis. He never told us just how our eyes would open and our hearts would grow. But honestly, he probably couldn’t have put it into words if he tried. No, Matthew had to show us. And he did just that.
Matthew taught us all to love greater, give grace more easily, and kindness more readily. It’s a gift too big for words. And yet somehow God knew all along that Matthew would share that gift with all of us. Matthew is certainly our Gift from God.