Puzzle Pieces, Part 5: Would You Rather?

I don’t really believe in any of that “Be careful what you wish for” stuff, as if fate is going to grab your words out of the air and make you regret them.

But I do know that there are times when some naïve comment you’ve made in the past takes on new meaning. Your brain revives a tucked away memory at just the right moment to remind you how clueless you once were. To keep you humble, I guess.


By the time our son was officially diagnosed with autism, two months shy of his third birthday, my husband and I mostly knew it was coming. Read More

Puzzle Pieces, Part 4: THE FIRST ONE

Even though I knew my son wasn’t talking on time,

That first assessment still hit me hard.


We had set up a screening with our state’s early intervention program. Although our “wait and see” pediatrician had finally given us a referral, the only developmental specialist in our area didn’t take our insurance and had a months-long wait. Read More

Puzzle Pieces, Part 3: HISTORY LESSONS

When my kid was eighteen months old, and we were still a year away from the diagnosis that would give a name to his speech delay, I got a head start on disability awareness through a work project.

In the spring of 2001, I was hired as the project historian for a multimedia theatre production based on the writings and reflections of Sam L., a local 56-year-old man with cerebral palsy.

Born in 1944, Sam grew up during an era of incredible transformation for those with disabilities in this country, and his stories reflected those changes. I was brought on to collect information, photographs, and video clips to provide key historical context for Sam’s story. Read More

Puzzle Pieces, Part 2: WHEN HE’S READY

By the time I was decorating my 2.5-year-old son’s first picture-communication board with an “autism ribbon,” we had been aware of his lack of speech for well over a year and a half.

My delay in embarking on speech therapy for him wasn’t exactly denial—it wasn’t like anyone said “This is Autism” and we refused to believe it. No one had brought up autism yet, and what little I’d heard about it just didn’t seem to match my son. Yet. 

We danced around the edges of his inevitable diagnosis as our son grew into toddlerhood. He was meeting all of the typical milestones—sitting up, eating solid foods, crawling, grasping, walking. All more or less on schedule. Except the talking part.

Our little guy babbled a bit. There were a few times when we thought words were coming, but what sounded like “Da” or “Ma” never coalesced into anything stronger. Read More