Thank you for sharing Frankie’s giggle with us.
My autism awareness story, is one that is no different from the countless others that have been told, sadly by so many others… What makes it exceptional is the “hero” of our story… A beautiful, blue eyed, very funny little boy named Frankie, with an infectious giggle and an innocence that I would readily give my life for trying to protect. I met Kimberly, fell in love, eventually got married, bought a house, and then as the textbook dictates, started a family. I followed all the rules.
There are certain moments in my life that are a blur, and then there are those that I can relive like it was yesterday… The day we found out that she was pregnant and those feelings of love, excitement and anticipation of the next awesome chapter of our lives. Fast forward a few years, and our search for answers, “boys are always behind in speech”, “hearing tests”, “Apraxia”. Finally at around age 3, the moment we were told by a neurologist that he was certain Frankie’s behavior was consistent with “ASD- Autism Spectrum Disorder”, I recall the moment exactly… the clouds did not part, trumpets did not sound, I just thought to myself… no kidding Sherlock… I recall the day Frankie discovered wind while taking a walk, and his giggles as this unknown force pushed against him… I recall the first time he spoke, saying “no” and shaking his head purposely, you would think that he graduated Harvard.
Fast forward to Frankie at age 9… At this stage of the game I wish I could say that I have finished mourning the loss of a “normal” life and the ease that comes with it, but that is not the case. For me I suspect it will be a lifelong process. My wife and I have been through a lot and have a long long way to go… we know this and take it day by day. We are committed to our family and doing our best. We are always happy when we rack up a “Win” such as a good day at school, a smooth transition to a new activity or our favorite… a happy silly little boy that loves to be tickled. We do not take a good day for granted. We are lucky that there are good weeks and bad days.
As this story is about Autism Awareness… Just like I can still see like it was yesterday when he shook his head and said “no”, people like me remember every act of kindness, understanding and empathy… Please consider this when you see Frankie and I or someone similar out in the world…
~story & photo submitted by Frankie’s father
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