I Am Your Voice You Are My Strength

2 months before I became pregnant with my son Z I had a miscarriage. At the time I didn’t understand why this had happened to me until later on. When I gave birth to Z this delivery felt different than his siblings' deliveries, of course, it was painful but something inside my soul felt different. I brought him home and of course I fell in love.

Everything was great with him! He was hitting every milestone and was even signing by age one. When he was two years old his behavior began to change. If we were at a store and if it was crowded or someone came up to him to say hey, he would scream, try to scratch and even throw his shoes at them. I thought how can someone so young have anger issues already. I remember going to a meeting for my daughter at her school. When it was time for the meeting to start everyone started to sit down. I notice the closer people were getting to him the more uncomfortable he was becoming. Then he started screaming, well honestly it was more of a screeching noise like he was in pain. That moment I knew something was wrong.

At two and a half he started to regress. He was no longer eating his five groups of foods, he went down to eating only two groups of foods. He became obsessed with crayons! He had to have them at all times and they had to be lined up. If his routine wasn’t the same he would have a meltdown. And he was still not speaking and would only sign a couple of words now. I knew it was time to see his doctor.

After I explained to the doctor everything that was going on, she referred Z to an occupational and speech therapist. The occupational therapist suggested that Z should go get evaluated for Autism. When we received the results back from the evaluation in February 2015, Z was diagnosed with Autism and Developmental Delay. I cried and cried not asking God why but asking Him to give me the knowledge to be able to help Z with this Autism journey.

"But I see how strong he is as he pushes through it. His strength is the reason I was able to become his voice."

So I started doing my research about Autism and he continued seeing his private OT and Speech therapists. I was nervous about letting him go to school for Pre-K. But he went and was placed in an inclusion class and his teacher and paraprofessionals were great. He seemed happy to go to school every day. In his Kindergarten and First grade years things changed. They didn’t offer inclusion classes for those grades so he was in a special education class most of the day and then went into a regular class the remaining of the time. I attended several IEP meetings trying to explain to them that this set up is not working for Z. And I also felt like he wasn’t being pushed to his potential and being overlooked especially because he is nonverbal. Nothing changed so at the beginning of Second grade I started to homeschool him.

This was one of the best decisions I have made for Z. He seemed to be more focused on learning, improved with his speech and now I was able to teach him the way I knew he would comprehend what he was learning. Since Z was at home he started to exercise with me. It was like a light came on. Not only was he engaging in physical activity but his behavior began to improve. So then I started to incorporate some of his school lessons into his workouts and he really enjoyed that.

As of today, Z is still nonverbal, being homeschooled, seeing his private OT and Speech therapists and eating only turkey bacon and fruit loops. He loves toothbrushes, working out with me and learning about appliances on YouTube. He still has his daily issues with noises, lights, foods, and if he gets out of his routine. But I see how strong he is as he pushes through it. His strength is the reason I was able to become his voice. My advice to other parents is to love your children, be patient, do what’s best for your child and be their voice.

About the Author

Tiana Walker

I am a loving mother of four and a proud grandmother of one. I am a certified fitness trainer and nutrition coach. My passion is fitness, but my purpose is to help individuals within the ASD community to live a healthy lifestyle. Exercising with my son Z helped me to realize the importance of physical activity with autistic children, and that’s how Z Autistic Fitness LLC transpired. I offer online fitness and nutrition guides for individuals on the Autism Spectrum.