Community Acceptance Through Faith – Guest Post By Toni Swan
Today we bring you another guest post by my friend Toni Swan. Her son Jacob has classic autism but has been making wonderful strides in his speech. I always love reading Toni’s facebook status’s with Jacob’s new words or conversations he’s taking part in. Although my Monkey was only non verbal till he was 4 I still remember how happy I was to hear those words when they came so I know how happy Toni and her family must be.
Toni brings us a post about acceptance from the people in our community. She also touches on faith and how this helped her pick up the pieces and move forward in a positive way. Sometimes when your world is turned upside down faith can sometimes be the first thing that dwindles but it can also be the one thing that gives you hope. I, personally am not a very religious person, however I do believe that having faith in something, whether that be God or something else, can give you hope for the future when life seems bleak.
My name is Toni and I’m an Autism Warrior. I have two kids, Jacob (10), and Hannah Rose (8). When Jacob was about 2 and a half, he was diagnosed with Autism. I was devastated. Mad at the world, mad at myself, mad at the little kids in the Baby Einstein videos for being so brilliant. I cried for 3 days straight, then my mom, an amazingly strong woman said to me, stop crying, he is not dying, you have to deal with this and be strong for your son.
So onward we went. Family doctor, pediatrician, developmental psychologist, autism team. Sigh…Then you keep on going. My coworkers were supportive. My family was comforting. Another source of peace was my church. This article is not to offend anyone, I’m not out to convert anyone. I am thankful for my faith during this thing called parenthood and the challenges it brings. I started going to St James church when I was pregnant. My husband didn’t want to go, so mum and I went. People were kind, welcoming, pretty darn “nice”. Jacob came along, he was baptized, we were “regulars” at Sunday service. Along came my daughter. The church communuty was supportive following diagnosis. My minister was there for me when my marriage ended. Today, I consider our current minister one of my best friends. My family adores her. My son goes to service, and to Sunday school. He takes turns bringing collection to the alter, and participates in Sunday School plays.
I will never forget the time we attended church on Communion Sunday, after a very early wake up call (2 am). Jacob made it very aware he was NOT going to sit still, so out we marched, to find a quiet place for him to decompress. Following service, my minister approached me and asked if Jacob and I wanted to receive communion. I accepted, then she gave the two of us communion. That act gave me renewed strength to continue. It reminded me that we will always be able to get strength from our church. Autism is a challenge that we parents must face. There are compassionate people who want to help, to listen, to offer us an xl coffee or a distraction. I hope my fellow warriors will find this article inspiring.
- Posted in: Autism