Celebrating the Simple with Autism Mom Shannon Biancamano
An Autism Mom, blogger, and wife, helping families by sharing our Autism journey. We share our photography, videos, some positive, happy fun but real posts. I hope that with the information we share it will help someone along the way in their journey. As a child and family advocate, I blog and share my life and work in different areas of advocacy impacting children and families. We have four children. Hannah 11.5, Gavin 9, Haleigh 6.5, and Ava 5. Gavin was diagnosed when he was five years old. Before I had kids, I was an interpreter for deaf children in a public school. I taught all of my children ASL; I never knew one of my children would need it more than the others. When Gavin was two years old, he had a significant hearing loss. He had tubes placed in his ears and adenoids removed. We searched for answers, sought out doctors and put on several waiting lists. For several hours, days, months and even years I searched for a solution to the hearing loss, the high tolerance of pain and the many undetected ear infections. We went through several doctors, evaluation after evaluations. I researched, read and search for the perfect description of our case and found nothing.The clouds started to clear as I got one step closer and closer to answers.
When we finally had our meeting to confirm his diagnosis, even after years of being denied services, denied being on the spectrum twice by the state once educationally, we finally arrived at a firm diagnosis when he was five. I remember feeling a huge rush of relief, like that feeling when you run a marathon and eventually cross the finish line completely exhausted.
I felt broken. I felt like a piece of me was broken and the thought of, now what.
My first thought was, ok what does this mean, what will his future be like, my mind raced, will he get married, be happy have a family of his own? I know I needed just focus on today but somehow my brain just ran from the time he was born and then flew like a racehorse to his future and thoughts of the unknown AGAIN that damn unknown. How beautiful would it be to have just taken some blood and been told YES He officially has XYZ. WHY WHY must it be such a fight and race to get to this point. I shut down on the inside, but I remained what appeared stable on the outside. I had to dig deep to find what the next steps meant and how we were going to get there and some. I think for the next couple of years I did just that, buckled down, did what needed to do and tried to learn as much as I could. I wanted him to have a fair chance at it all. If Gavin required therapy, then sign me up and off we went. Teach me how to help him, and I worked with him at home. I made picture boards, games up with blocks and legos and anything Batman to encourage and engage him. We sang songs, we played, and we always took time to swing. He was happy. Hardly ever a meltdown. Content. He was and still is so sweet. We had our way to communicate till he started to talk about the age of 5.
Autism broke me, but I didn't allow for it to destroy me. I primarily hit a hard point two years ago, about a year after Gavin's official diagnosis. Gavin's IEP's became more stressful. The trust in his services became questionable. I didn't trust the people he was with and wasn't sure what I had to do. My firm determined self-started to fade away. No book, Facebook Autism on The Mighty post or even a friendly phone call could repair the pieces. I had to decide I wasn't going to give up. I wasn't going to slip away and let him fail because other people were failing him or not supporting him the way he needed it. I had to be the one to do it. I had to be the one to decide if I am going to take care of him and his three sisters I need to do it and do it well. Little by little I found myself again. I took time for myself. I work out; I eat healthily I allow myself time. I let myself to say no to others so I can say yes to me. I needed to be a happier better version of myself for my family.
Autism has taught me to love the unlovable in others. To keep my mouth shut when people use unkind words or say things that are absurd or offensive. Autism has taught me to turn whatever negative chaos is created around into some positive. Autism has taught me it isn't anything to do with my son and everything about all the people we will deal with because of Autism. That is the delicate piece. That is what broke me. I knew all along my son would be happy, content and prosperous. All he needs is love, support, and encouragement. What he doesn't need is the world around him ignoring him, staring at him and treating him like he is stupid or he can't hear or understand you. That's what broke me, but that's also what I refuse to allow to destroy me again or him.
Receiving an Autism diagnosis broke me. It caused me to look at the world differently. It broke down walls. It caused me grief, anger and critical view of others and even in myself. It broke me ultimately to have a diagnosis, but what I have learned, I've learned to rebuild myself through faith and persistence. We persisted and kept going, kept calling for appointments. We regained hope again, we met some fantastic people along the way, and little by little the broken pieces started to come back together again. I've become a better me, mother and wife, because of what Autism has taught me. I've gained a tremendous love for the little things in life because small victories are a big deal in our home. We celebrate effort, not perfection. We celebrate kindness, not proudness. We are our happiest when we are laughing.
Tomorrow is always another day. There's more time for love. There's more time to learn patience. There's more encouragement to spread. If you don't have time for those things in your life and your focused so much on perfection, maybe readjust your view, instead of looking for a reflection look for a new focus and find what might feel broken within your self. What will you allow to destroy you? What will you do to rise above it?
Celebrate the simple.
Take pride in the repairs you've made within yourself.
Align your sails to set you free and on the right path and know you are right where God intended you to be; now you get to decide, sink or swim. Sometimes the things you cannot change end up changing you.
We are beyond honored and grateful to have Shannon and Gavin take part in our Autism Awareness Campaign this week. Use the code AUTSOCIETY18 for Free Shipping on this week's collection to support the Autism Society. #BecausePeopleMatter