The Many Emotions of Discovering Autism

AUTISM is something that I did not know about until it touched my own life. There are many emotions that happen all at once when you find out your child is autistic. My son’s diagnosis started with speech therapy, because that’s what the first recommendation was. Apparently, it is the first step that has to happen in order for the therapist to assess different signs. The therapist listens to your child and recommends more tests, screenings, and services if it’s possible your child has autism. 

That’s where my medical journey began. After various evaluations, therapists, etc. I had never imagined having to go through so many hoops and hurdles to find out a diagnosis. It was difficult to see my young son go through so much. During one of these evaluations the big blow came; I received the news that my son not only had severe autism, but also ADHD and an intellectual disability. 

It was all so difficult to understand and accept. I blamed myself and felt I had done something wrong. At first I thought since I could not help him with his autism, that is how he wound up with more diagnoses. He also has blamed me for being a bad mom, which is a gut-wrenching thing to hear. However, I found help. After talking to the right people, they helped me understand that none of this was my fault. When I started feeling better about myself, I got the courage and strength to fight for my son with everything I’ve got.

To this day his diagnosis is very complicated, and I still run into problems getting answers. I am often told they do not know if his behaviors are due to autism, ADHD, or an intellectual disability. I find this both frustrating and very sad. These labels are thrown around, and help is not easy to come by. I don’t like how children are given labels and judged, instead of being given the resources they need along with the same respect and education other children have.

We have come a long way. Today my son is happy, and my family life is calm. The part that upsets me is the education our school system provides, which is very bad. There are laws that do not benefit our children, and do not take them into account or us as parents because it is not convenient. I don’t want my son to be just another statistic, he is a human being who can be a good person for our society if he gets the education, help, and resources he deserves. My son is incredible, he is loving and very intelligent. But most importantly, he is happy. He has come a long way, and we still have a long way to go, but with the education he deserves he will be unstoppable. I will not stop fighting for him!

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Luz Ramirez

Luz Ramirez

Luz Ramirez is the mother of Santiago and Karol. Santiago is autistic. Both of Luz’s children are part of the Special Education program in the San José Unified District. For the last seven years, Luz has immersed herself in learning all about autism and has been dedicated to advocating for quality public education for austistic students. Luz continues to learn about special education for her children and for the generations to come. Being a community leader, Luz leads the parent group Yo Soy Tu Voz, who advocates for the rights of students in public schools with diagnoses and high needs. She believes a good education will be part of the foundation for her son, and others, to live a fruitful life. Luz is prepared for this fight, and knows this is just the beginning. Autism does not define Santiago, Santiago will define autism!
Luz Ramirez

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