Allow me an introduction, my name is Shay Gowan, and I am a parent of a child with Autism. I desire to create a platform for families of different backgrounds to discuss the topic of Autism. I want to share my family’s journey. My hope is we can learn from one another and find a sense of encouragement along the way. As I reflect on my experience with my son’s Autism journey, many barriers presented themselves. I realize that the people in my inner circle did not understand mental health, and I learned about ASD myself.

Despite the messages from a family that opposed the idea of anything could be wrong, I begin taking my son from appointment to appointment without a diagnosis; I began to feel delusional and depressed because of lack of support. Jay was later medically diagnosed with Pervasive Development Disorder-NOS at age 7, even though he had an earlier educational diagnosis at the age of 3 of Autism. Like the media has come a long way on Autism, so had the medical community. Pediatricians presently have more resources to monitor their patients’ development than in the early 2000s. Pediatricians now have more and better resources to monitor their patients’ development than they did in the early 2000s. Parents are also becoming more aware of signs as their children develop. For people of various ethnic backgrounds, the truth is that money, resources, support, education, and awareness can create better outcomes in the lives of children with ASD.

Jay was born in 2003; I began to see the signs around 18 months. As I ponder on the memory, I remember the process of filling out paperwork as I traveled to the doctor and specialist with so many questions but no diagnoses until 2010. That diagnosis gave him only three years of intensive in-home therapy. I ask myself, why did it take so long? The cut-off was age ten because it was considered the core development years. I often think his outcome could have been better had he received ABA therapy and other resources sooner. I hope that the stories and resources mentioned in this blog will be a starting place for support.

Shay G