I never really had that much experience with autism. I knew of it, and I knew that there was a lot of people that struggled with it. I just never personally had experience with it. My oldest son was a curveball for me. As a baby he would struggle with certain things that became very confusing and frustrating. One example would be nursing. He seemed to like nursing but couldn’t seem to handle the act of sucking and swallowing. He would guzzle till he choked and then he would get mad about it. I thought maybe my milk flow was just too strong for him to handle. We both spent a lot of time for months and months crying through breastfeeding. He never really seemed to get the hang of it. When he started eating solids it was the most amazing thing that ever happened. There are quite a few examples like this that have made so much sense after getting a diagnosis.
We knew for sure that something was off when he was very delayed with speaking. He was four years old when our family doctor suggested early intervention with our school district, we ended up getting him qualified for early preschool. It took another year till more official testing happened and he was diagnoses with autism with an accompanying speech delay. He went into head start that year and kindergarten the following year. He really struggled with school and seemed to be falling further and further behind. That is when we decided to homeschool, I’m so grateful that this was a possibility for us. The support I was able to give him has brought him so far.
Anyway, coming to a close on our first homeschool year, we talked about possibly doing a service project. I honestly wasn’t expecting anything big. However, without hesitation he said that he wanted to do something for kids like him to make them feel “strong and special, like me”. I asked how we would do that and that is how the whole race with medals and shirts came into play. I have been running a lot more races lately and coming home with shirts and medals.