2018-04-08 / Insight

‘We seek acceptance, to be understood and loved’

Paula Bellhorn Imlay City Paula Bellhorn Imlay City How has Autism affected my life?

This question always depends on the season that I am at throughout this journey.

If you have asked me that question at the beginning of my journey with Autism my answer would have been isolation, frightening, research. I did not know what the future held for my son and myself.

Meltdowns and sensory overloads kept us isolated from group activities. Researching what Autism was, what was available, therapies, etc., and back in 2001 there were not many options, let alone help.

Now, when you ask me that question, frightening still comes to mind, but for differ- ent reasons. What employment opportunities will be available for my son? Housing, transportation? Acceptance will always be a concern.

Friends — I have the best friends now that I would have never met if not for Autism. We have been on this journey, some from the beginning and some in the last few years. We get Autism, we understand it, and sometimes we do not like it.

Research, always researching.

In the beginning it was what caused this, but that quickly turned to how I can help my son navigate the world, how I can bring acceptance of not just Autism but all differences. Because we all have differences, some are visible and some are not, but the one thing we all want is to be accepted, to be understood and to be loved.

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