Long before autism became a household word, many parents of children living with autism were taking on their day-to-day challenges in silence. According to Holly and Rodney, these everyday heroes faced uncertainty with courage, strength and love for their children. The Peetes talk with Tanya, whose 18-year-old son was diagnosed with autism at age 10, about her family's experience with the condition.
Tanya says that for many years, she and her husband sensed their child was different, yet countless doctor visits, medical test and evaluations didn't give them any answers. When their son was finally diagnosed with autism at age 10, Tanya says they welcomed the news with mixed feelings. "It wasn't really what we wanted to hear, but we were somewhat relieved," she says.
Today, Tanya says she and her husband wouldn't trade their son's unique personality for anything in the world—even if a "cure" for autism were to be made available. Tanya says her son has a great sense of humor, loves politics and is an accomplished pianist. "That's his love," she says. She says part of her and her husband's journey has been learning to communicate the subtleties of autism to people who haven't experienced it firsthand. "These children are so intelligent, but they're different," she says. "It's unlike anything you've ever seen."
Printed from Oprah.com on Thursday, December 19, 2013