Flickr photo by Beverly & PackWith stories that have as much range as the autistic spectrum itself, moms share their experiences in parenting an autistic child (and in some cases, children). Whether it's their honest initial reaction upon finding out the diagnosis or how they deal with outbursts by their child on a regular basis, these moms open up to help others understand. They talk about the embarrassment and anger they sometimes feel when being judged by others and the pride they feel at their child's smallest accomplishments. It's both heartwarming and educational to see and hear how these moms work through their every day.
My Autism Story: Kim Has 3 Kids On the Spectrum: Kim is a mom of three, all of whom are on the spectrum. After experiencing the fear of the unknown with her oldest, now 20, she's better able work with her two girls, both in elementary school.
My Autism Story: Kari Has 1 Child on the Spectrum: Kari's son was diagnosed with "pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified," commonly referred to as "PDD-nos." She talks about the important role that the environment plays when it comes to her son's development.
My Autism Story: Crystal Has 2 Children on the Spectrum: Crystal knew from the moment she laid eyes on both of her boys that something was special about them, even if the doctors couldn't see it.
My Autism Story: Rita's Grandson Was Stolen Away: Rita's grandson, Lane, was on a normal developmental path until the day he received six booster shots. He hasn't been the same since.
My Autism Story: Krystal Knew From the Very Beginning: Krystal couldn't shake the feeling that something was a bit "off" with her son Brandon. After confirming that he, indeed, has PDD-nos, she has since been able to tackle it head-on with the support of her family.
My Autism Story: Liz and Her Son Are Both on the Spectrum: After being diagnosed with Asperger's herself, Liz realized that her son had it too.
My Autism Story: The Boy Who Feels No Pain: Dawn knew something was up when her son Jon, at only 3 years old, was reading books and reciting state capitals, yet couldn't play with another child.
My Autism Story: Cheryl's Daughter Amy Has High-Functioning Autism: Cheryl's daughter Amy was diagnosed with Asperger's at the age of 4. After a year of behavioural therapy, her progress has been amazing, and Cheryl believes Amy will be part of the 10 to 20% of kids who leave the spectrum.
My Autism Story: Gina's Daughter Has Asperger's: Gina, whose daughters Katie, age 14, has Asperger's, and Emily, age 11, has learning disabilities, believes the best thing you can do for a child with autism is focus on the positive.
My Autism Story: Holly Robinson Peete & Her Family's Approach to Autism: Actress, author, activist, and philanthropist Holly Robinson Peete discusses her family's journey after discovering her son RJ is autistic.
My Autism Story: Shonda Schilling's Tough Education About Her Son's Asperger's: New York Times bestselling author, Shonda Schilling, who had never even heard of Asperger's until her son's diagnosis in 2007, discusses her book The Best Kind of Different and how the diagnosis affected her family's life.
My Autism Story: Shannon Has a Son on the Spectrum: Shannon, an avid autism and parenting blogger since 2003, looked to the online community when her son Leo was diagnosed with autism.
My Autism Story: Ali's Son Simon Is on the Spectrum: When Ali's first child, Simon, was born, it was hard to tell what was normal development and what wasn't. After his autism was confirmed, she made it a point to celebrate his successes and individuality.
My Autism Story: Jaderica's Youngest Is on the Spectrum: When Jaderica's youngest, Tommy, was diagnosed with classic regressive autism, the whole family, as well as friends and extended family, got involved to help him integrate his therapy exercises into everyday life.
My Autism Story: Amy's Son Is on the Spectrum: Amy shares her struggle with her autistic son Jonah's dangerous behavioral issues, including aggression toward himself and others.
My Autism Story: Carole's 14-Year-Old Daughter Is on the Spectrum: Carole finds sanctuary at her local Y to help her deal with the uncertainties that come with her daughter Jackie's autism.
My Autism Story: Andrea's Son Has Autism and She Shares Her Insight: Andrea and her husband thought their son was completely normal until a gymnastics teacher and an educational evaluator pointed out the red flags.
My Autism Story: Christa Has 2 Daughters on the Spectrum: Christa and her husband chalked up their struggles with their first daughter to being new parents. Finally, an autism diagnosis and then their second daughter was also diagnosed, and they began their journey.