In August of 2013, life at the RIC-household was forever changed. Our son, Nathan was diagnosed with "mild-autism". And while the diagnosis involved the prefix of "mild", our family had absolutely no idea of what to expect. In our eyes, our son is and forever will be PERFECT. Since August, our lives have been an endless array of counseling and therapy appointments. Upon telling others we were embraced with optimism, hope, and in some cases denial in the thinking that our son can't possibly have autism. And so since August, we knew that Nathan would be seeing the world through a different lens, interacting in unique ways, and socializing in a manner that the world would classify as different than others. As a father, I can't recall a moment in my life where I've actually felt like the world was turned upside down - I remember I was out leading a student trip to Knott's Berry Farm, an engagement that Annie and I had talked about would happen during the doctor's revealing of Nathan's autism. Questions in my head started multiplying: What is autism? What will my son be able to do or not do because of this? How could we parent him better with what he's been diagnosed with? Can we have more kids if we'd be giving Nathan slightly more time? And I remember Annie telling me on the phone about Nate's autism and with no chair to sit down, I chose the floor. My beautiful son would have hurdles - and I think regardless of what the hurdles would be, as a parent, I wished I could have held my son at that very moment and carried him through all of the different obstacles that he was about to face: hours of therapy, intentional challenges to his will and way of thinking, frustration and meltdowns because we would just have hard times of communicating and understanding to one another... I wanted to spare him from it all. But I know that regardless of any conditions or challenges... parents can't and won't be able to spare children from all harm.
Now, 6 months ahead of time, his therapy and therapists particularly have been wonderful. I am truly grateful that we live in a culture and society that is seemingly endless in their provisions for our son in setting him up with the best possible education to fit his needs. Ironically enough, I was told several weeks ago that there would be an event at Knott's Berry Farm (the place where it all hit) to raise funds for Nathan's school: The Speech & Language Development Center in Buena Park. This is one of the many ways that I will be able to support my son and the people who love him so dearly to provide for his needs with me. This Sunday, March 2, I will be participating in the Coaster Run to help raise funds for the school. With no pressure and no obligation whatsoever, I am attaching both a flyer and ways which you can help the Speech & Language Development Center and Nate's Great Race with Autism. If you are interested in donating to the Speech & Language Development Center, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Let's GO NATE!
**Click the image below to open up the event page on facebook**