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Connor Macchabee

by Julie Macchabee

It is not how you start but how you finish the race; and by the way, this race you have begun will be a marathon.
Do not feel defeated
Gather your strength
For if you glance to the right
The sun is shining bright.
Glance to your left and see that you are not alone.
Other families run beside you
Tattered yet determined
To run with their children and cross that finish line.

We are giving our children every opportunity to succeed.

As our children work hard on their NACD programs
Take their hand and hold on tight
If we all stand strong together
It is less of a fight.

For it is not how you start but how we finish the race.

When my son was diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) at the age of four years, eleven months; I recall after a time of grief, my husband holding my hand and saying, “It is not how you start the race, but how you finish it.”  We knew that our son was developmentally delayed by approximately two years behind his typically developing peers.  Yes, it was, and still is, heart-breaking at times.  No parent wishes this infliction upon their child.  It is crippling for a child and humbling for a parent.  We also vowed, as soon as our son was diagnosed, to fight.

Like many other parents we are searching for answers and in our quest we discovered National Association for Child Development.  Although we are new to the program, we have seen steady improvements and achievements with our son.  His path to the future is much harder than most; however, he will succeed.  He is a fighter too.

Autism – Whatever your belief: genetically faltered, environmental toxins, vaccination induced, allergic reactions, leaky gut syndrome, poor parenting, lack of discipline.  Believe me, I have heard it all.  I cannot fix whatever caused Autism but I am trying to give back to my son what has been taken by Autism.

Since we began the program, his processing skills have increased.  He is starting to read and do math.  He is physically stronger and can complete the monkey bars and wrestle with his Dad.  He has better vision and balance.  He can ride a bike without training wheels.  He is becoming de-sensitized to smell, touch and taste.  We can apply sunscreen without tears.  His diet that consisted of ten food and drink items for four years is slowly increasing and he even had his first chew and swallow of rice just yesterday.  His quality of life is improving each day and our struggles as a family are becoming less and less.

When he was born, I marvelled at the miracle of giving birth to a son.  I wept for I had a million dollar family.  One girl, one boy.  I had no idea at that time that my dreams for my family would spiral out of control in just a few passing years.  It was as if I blinked and that euphoric time was gone.  We entered into the world of Autism.

We have faced many dark days but I know that I am not alone.  There is no greater motivation than other parents sharing their success stories.  Our children will succeed; all they need is the opportunity.

Proud Mom to Emma (9) and Connor (6)

Special thanks to my devoted husband, Dan and NACD Developmentalist/Coach, Sara Erling and NACD Coach, Glenda Girazian.

Reprinted by permission of The NACD Foundation, Volume 23 No. 3, 2010 ©NACD

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