"There needs to be a lot more emphasis on what a child can do instead of what he cannot do." Temple Grandin
We have always told Neil he could accomplish anything he put his mind to. We have encouraged him and at times even pushed a little. Our goal for him was to live beyond being a label. The journey hasn't always been easy, in fact there have been days where I wondered if we could endure. There are victories and there are challenges and above all of that, there are blessings.
I hear all the time that people never knew that Neil was on the spectrum. For a long time I didn't really talk about it, not because I was ashamed but because I didn't want him boxed into a label. We worked hard so his potential wouldn't be limited by a stereotype. We've been blessed with educators, counselors and coaches who believed in him enough to push him beyond the shell he lived in for so long.
Not too many years ago I feared for what kind of life he would have. Today I find comfort in knowing that he is a friend, an athlete, a leader, a coach, a mentor and an amazing son and brother. He is more than a label and a diagnosis. He is my Neil and I'm grateful for all that he teaches me.
April 2nd is Autism Awareness Day, but for us, that's everyday.