I speak to groups about a variety of topics.
Sometimes I am asked to speak about sports marketing, the team I work for, our upcoming season or just our industry. Sometimes I speak about autism awareness.
I prefer to speak about autism.
When I was in fifth grade, I started a variety of testing. I remember going to hospital after hospital, therapist after therapist.
I was diagnosed with dyslexia, then ADD, and a few other things that I can't remember. Since I don't see words backwards, I was pretty sure that I wasn't dyslexic. ADD? yhea, I have that. What was I talking about again? Just kidding.
As I have mentioned in previous posts, my boys are a lot like me when I was a child. Everything they do reminds me of me.
Where did this come from? Why are my boys on the spectrum? Turns out, it was a diagnosis that I was never told about. I am on the spectrum. Now, everything makes sense.
I see things in pictures - to me, that's normal. Don't you see things like that? No - you don't.
I remember obscure dates and places. I see them in pictures clearly as if they happened yesterday.
I remember having a conversation with my father in his bedroom when I was only 3. I remember a conversation with my mom in our living room when I was 5. Clearly - word for word, and I can see it.
I am obsessed with my profession. Being in professional sports is hard on a family, so a few years ago, I got out. That lasted about six months. I was obsessed with getting back into sports - couldn't stop thinking about it, and did everything I could to get a job.
I work day and night. I live, eat and breathe my job. I am obsessed with sports marketing, and have been since I was.........seven.
I am blessed that I can remember these events in my life. I am blessed with a memory that can recall stats at the drop of a hat. It is also a bit of a curse.
There is so much more.
When you think about the weekend, I see "tall buildings," I don't know why, but this became real for me when Chandler told me that he sees tall buildings when we talk about weekends.
When we watched Temple Grandin together, during the scenes when she "sees" things, Chandler explains to me that he sees the world that way. I didn't say anything, but so do I.
So Chan and Spencer, you are not alone. I made it through this, and so will you.
I have made the decision to seek therapy for the little things that I do which are caused by the disorder - I am obsessive compulsive about a number of things, and that needs some help. There are a few others too, and with this new information I will have the opportunity to correct some of my.......quirks.
This new information will not change who I am. I am a father of who has wonderful sons and daughters. I am a husband who loves his wife (another obsession -- don't think that has anything to do with autism). I am a person who cares deeply about autism awarness, and making sure that not only my children - but all children have an opportunity to have success in life away from home.
Chan and Spencer were given to me for a number of reasons. A diagnosis of my own is only one of them.
I thank them every day for the gifts they give me. I can't wait until we are reunited in Ohio.