Almost 24 years ago I went into labor with my oldest son Luke.  He brought unspeakable joy to his Father and me in ways we never knew possible. It is true. Becoming a parent is A number one!

When a baby is born in the hospital, some of the first duties of the nursery RN is to assess the infant for abnormalities. Our son passed with flying colors. Luke was a loud mouth at birth and a squiggly little fella. It was hard to get his exact weight because he was moving on the scales so much. In her most southern voice, the nurse said to Luke, “You got to be still for it to set!”  Ah, that voice will never be forgotten.

We have told Luke this story and he reminds us almost weekly, if not more often, about that day. The mind of an autistic young man is mesmerizing. He remembers what he wants and can do it to complete accuracy.  He has never forgotten his life story.

Maybe this is an important lesson for all of us. We all matter from the very tiny infant to the growly old man begging on the street. Luke is an adult now, and if not well taken care of he could become homeless. Autism took away his ability to take care of himself.

What autism took away became an opportunity for his parents to do all we can to help him. We have done that. In time, more needs to be done. Luke needs assistance from many resources. For example, Luke started a new job today. He is working in janitorial services at a national chain restaurant. We are all proud of him, but he is not able to work alone.

Today is a day of celebration. We need to give more opportunities to those who need and want it. Behavioral challenges have brought many opportunities to a complete halt for Luke. I suspect he will continue in this volatile state. Still, today we applaud a good day at work and hope for a good future for our son, just as any parent would want for their child.

Let me just add—Luke has a younger brother by four years who is excelling at a highly regarded university as a junior. We want the best for all our kids. Autism has changed our family, but also brought a uniqueness to our community of other parents who have these same daily struggles with their son or daughter. Peace to all.

You can read more stories about Luke and his family at www.alesiablogs.wordpress.com

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