What if I told you that my reason for getting into voice acting had NOTHING to do with becoming a household name or getting that amazing cartoon character, or becoming the brand voice of a gargantuan company? Well, it doesn’t. My why stems from something that’s much closer to my heart and soul–My son with autism. He’s my why. He’s why I press in and push forward when life is pushing in on him in ways he can’t process.
Keeping My Authenticity in the Battle of Autism
If you’ve ever listened to my commercial demo, his voice is featured with mine as we discuss the topic of autism. Every time I listen to it, I smile, and I’m reminded of the fact that he’s fighting a battle every single day of his life that only he and those like him understand. He runs his race inside himself, dealing with the complexities of this world and not really understanding or comprehending what it all means. Yet, he thrives. When people see him in public and he’s going through one of his “coping tick” moments, I often see people stare. I admit that I sometimes stare back at them until they experience how uncomfortable it is having someone just gape at you, as we patiently wait for our son to sort through the next thing he needs to do.
Each New Season Brings Growth
Two years ago, my husband and I awoke to the scream of our son. This is something that used to happen on occasion when he would have a nightmare. We both sat up and waited. Either he would fall back asleep, or we would need to check on him. Then we heard our daughter scream. This is when we both took off for his room. On this rare occasion, I was ahead of my husband. As I reached the top of the stairs, our youngest was standing in shock and saying something to the effect of, “Something’s wrong with Matthew!” At this point, my husband was now past me. I gently advised our daughter to go downstairs and that it would be okay. Then I headed towards our son. The first words out of my husband’s mouth as he approached his bed shook me to my core.
He’s Having a Seizure
“He’s having a seizure!” I still shake my head in disbelief as I recall that moment. His tongue was blue. His eyes were rolled so you only saw the white of them. He was convulsing. He was shaking and didn’t seem to be breathing. All I could do was stare for what seemed like an eternity. As my husband positioned himself under his body, I was able to recall certain steps to take. Before I could remind my husband not to put his finger in Matthew’s mouth, it was too late, and Matthew had bitten him. My husband just kept saying, “I’ve got you, buddy! Breathe for me!” Then I ran downstairs for my phone to call 911.
The 911 Operator Was My Lifeline that Night
Once I was able to find my phone, I dialed those dreaded three numbers. I kid you not when I tell you that the 911 Operator WAS MY LIFELINE that night. I knew I was in shock because I couldn’t remember a SINGLE phone number that I knew by heart. As she talked me through what to do, I heard a scream from Matthew’s room. I stopped walking up the steps. I told the operator that I was afraid to go up because I thought he was dead. She talked me through that moment as well. As I got closer to his room my husband shouted out to me that he was okay. Then I realized that I had stopped breathing until I heard his words. I can never forget that night, nor the seizure that followed a month later, but I am stronger for it, and so is our Matthew.
I Hate Autism but I Love My Son
Please hear me when I share with you that we fiercely love this young man of ours. I hate autism because it limits him, but I love him because he works out who he is so very beautifully. I marvel at him. I hope that when others stare, they marvel at him as well, because he’s the true star. At least, he always will be in my world.