I wanted to share a little something with you—today is Ryan’s 5th birthday. My little guy was born with such vigor and hope. Over time he became more than a handful and withdrew from us. My wife suspected something was wrong, but my first thought was my kid’s no retard he just needs to have his ass thumped.
It all came to a head on a road trip to Oregon two years ago. Ryan brought me to my knees, but not how you’d think. I got so angry with him like nothing I had ever experienced with the first three. He was being a super-ultra-mega brat and I couldn't take it anymore. You see, I was ready to abuse my child—my innocent 3 year old boy who, as I would find out later, could not control himself. It was this self awareness of me that led me to seek answers. I have never beaten my children and couldn’t believe I was about ready to.
A week or two later he was officially diagnosed with autism.
There was a reason for his misbehavior, but my original perception of autism was that of dumb and retarded kids. I couldn’t have been more wrong. We enrolled Ryan into a special education class and occupational therapy. The results have been amazing.
I’m to the point now where I can almost have a conversation with this guy. Two years ago he was speaking gibberish! He recently was tested so as to be put into an autism focused class for kindergarten and scored super high on intelligence. This little man has done something to me again, brought me to my knees.
I’m thankful I didn’t beat my child that day. I’m thankful I dropped my pride and listened to my wife. I’m thankful Ryan has received such good care and treatment through the Puyallup School District and dare I say it—The University of Washington Autism Research Program.
So on this day where we celebrate Ryan’s 5th birthday, I truly thank God for giving me such a wonderful son. Happy Birthday little man!