Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurological and developmental condition that is typically identified during childhood. Despite being able to determine signs early on, the disorder affects an individual for the entirety of their life.
According to AutismSpeaks.org,parents who have a child with ASD have only a 2 to 18% chance of having a second child who is also affected.
In Kristen Williams’ case, all four of her children are on the spectrum.
Sons, Trent (16), Dylan (14), and Kaden (9) were diagnosed at various ages – one as old as ten, and one as young as just two years old. They fall on different points within the wider spectrum, each with their own set of behavioral identifiers, proclivities, and patterns. Daughter, Braelyn (4), has, too, shown signs of having ASD and autism-related OCD. Though she has not yet been formally diagnosed, she has already been monitored by doctors, and will be reevaluated for diagnosis when she turns six years old.
Kristen joins us to break down the differences in behavior between her four children, and to discuss the impact having ASD has had on each of them:
“My first son doesn’t like the stigma associated with being on the spectrum. He’s very critical of himself,” Kristen shares. “My second son was physically abused for being special needs at just three years old. It’s been a long, tough road.”
The stigma surrounding special needs children is present, but largely unaddressed - and something Kristen strives to bring attention to. As not just a mother of four, but a Registered Nurse, Kristen tries to enlighten others in both personal and professional settings. “Sometimes I feel like a failure as a mother since I can’t “fix” my children - but I know if we could just start a real conversation about this, we might be able to see some change,” says Kristen, eager to share pieces of her life with both others and us in an effort to do just that. April is Autism Awareness Month, and with annual Autism Awareness Day (April 2nd) just having passed, we encourage each of you to hear every side to Kristen’s story, and make yourself aware of the difficulties the many children and parents alike who are affected by ASD face each and every day.
Tune in Wednesday, April 10thto watch Kristen’s story on ‘For the Hayters,’ and do what you can to educate yourself. Those who fall on the Autism Spectrum are simply different, not less. The more we can learn, the better we’ll all be together. Kristen teaches us just that.