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Autism Awareness Month: You Are Not Alone

My son, Joshua, received his diagnosis of autism at the tender age of 2 years old. In retrospect, my husband and I can look back and see that there were red flags present, even when Joshua was an infant. The first thing we noticed was that Joshua was never interested in eye contact or looking at people's faces. It seemed that he was always looking past or through us. Neither my husband nor I said anything to each other at that point in time, but we couldn't help but notice it and think about what it may have meant.

Over the months that followed, we slowly started to see the pieces of the puzzle come into focus. We were finally able to start putting the pieces together- bit by bit. Joshua had the benefit of beginning state early intervention services before his first birthday. Through the recommendations of our First Steps therapists and our pediatrician, we were able to get Joshua in to see a developmental pediatrician for further evaluation.

Navigating through the evaluation and diagnostic system felt isolating and scary. It felt like uncharted waters, even though many had previously made their way through. Somehow, we were hearing the statistics of how many children were affected by autism, but we also felt very alone. We are eternally grateful to Family Voices Indiana, who showed us compassion, empathy, and kindness. They went out of their way to be there for us, answer our questions, guide us to potential resources, and honestly help us in any way we needed. Having the ability to talk with other parents who understand and have gone through similar situations empowered me to learn, research, move forward, and not feel so alone. It also helped us to access financial, medical, and therapeutic resources for Joshua that we may not have otherwise not known about.

I am sharing all of this with you for this specific purpose: to remind you that you are not alone. If you notice something that worries you about your child, but you are afraid to even say it aloud- you are not alone. If you are fighting hard to make sure your child gets all of the very best therapies and sees all of the best professionals- you are not alone. If you are overwhelmed with a new diagnosis and not sure where to turn- you are not alone. If the evaluation, diagnostic, medical, or therapeutic systems feel isolating and overwhelming- you are not alone. If you have folders full of paperwork and applications filled with medical jargon and you are not sure where to start- you are not alone.

Not only did Family Voices Indiana empower me in my own journey, they also empowered me to share my story with others. I am now a Health Information Specialist working for Family Voices Indiana, and I feel privileged and humbled to come alongside parents and families in order to partner with them and support them in their unique journeys! When you feel alone, please remember that Family Voices is here. We are always open. We are mothers that have been through it. We understand. We can't make decisions for you, but we can listen to you, empathize with you, and make sure that you have access to up-to-date information so that you are empowered to make the best decisions possible for your family!

If you have questions or if you need support, give us a call at 844-F2F-INFO or email info@fvindiana.org with a brief description of what you need. We are here to help!

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