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‘Light It Up Blue’ – April is Autism Awareness Month

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John and Michele Riggs
The month of April is National Autism Awareness Month. This hits home to me as I have a son with autism.

My son, Jaron, was diagnosed with autism a couple of years ago. I wasn’t shocked with the diagnosis as autism runs in my family and recognized some signs early on. He learns at his own pace, but it still just your typical 4-year-old boy. Very active, Spider-Man like ability to climb with a ‘no fear’ attitude ability to jump off of high objects.

Jaron Riggs with proud papa (me!)
Although we encourage play like this as often as possible, My wife and I have to keep our eyes on him at all times. He’s unpredictable on how he’ll act around strangers in strange places. We don’t go out often as we never know how he’ll act or react to things. Especially at strangers houses that may not be baby-proofed as he’ll have no problem throwing everything on the counter on to the floor or pulling all of the jackets off their hangers. That act of attentiveness has often been compared to the alertness of a person in active military combat.

He’s also incredibly brilliant on figuring things out. He, often, gets into the fridge to grab juice or applesauce or something. We got a lock for our fridge that he figured out how to unlock within a few minutes. He is also polite enough to lock it back up when he grabbed whatever he needed.

He’s also a pro at using an iPad which is handy as there are several fun, educational apps made for iPad, but we have to limit the time he uses it as he would stay on his iPad all day if we’d let him.

So, this month, if there’s a kid that seems blunt in his comments or repeats aloud the menu at a restaurant or just someone acting up, know that it may not be the parent’s fault.

And if you have a child who you think may be on the spectrum, there’s always help available. It’s worth reaching out to get the help your child needs. Feel free to contact me directly if you ever need someone to talk to about it.

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