Hello and welcome to our blog! I’m Donna Winrow. My husband Bryan and I met back in 2007 in a crowded church basement in Kingston, NY. We had to be the two most awkward people in the room, and at the time, we had no idea that there was actually a reason for that. We quickly learned that we are polar opposites (which apparently attracted), him being a left brained Engineer and me being the ‘artsy type’, but there was something very significant that we shared, we just couldn’t put our fingers on it at the time.
Fast forward half a decade to 2012. We’ve been married for two years at this point, own a house and have a one year old son named Caleb. Bryan and I started having some marriage problems that didn’t exactly seem typical to me, so I started doing some research into Asperger’s Syndrome, which I had heard is common in Engineers (PBS even referred to it as the “Engineer’s disease”). I knew that Bryan was kind of quirky and had a few odd habits but the information that I discovered absolutely shocked me. Sure, he seemed to have some of the traits, but what I also found were extremely accurate descriptions of my own lifetime of otherwise unexplainable and confusing thoughts and behaviors. To add to that surprise, I read that Caleb’s cute and quirky behaviors were actually early signs of Autism.
Over the next 4 months, red flag after red flag started to surface in Caleb. It almost felt as if we had activated these behaviors in him, or that we simply had to be imagining it, but we weren’t. As much as we wanted to be, and as much as well meaning friends and family tried to help us to believe that we were, he still qualified for early intervention at 14 months of age. I found myself with four professionals sitting in my living room all telling me that I’m not crazy and that Caleb is, in fact, developmentally delayed and showing early signs of Autism. A week after that, I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.
It didn’t take me long to learn that Autism awareness is very low. It’s so low that people like myself are living confusing and difficult lives because they are completely unaware that they have it, and that there is help available. I decided early on that I would like to advocate for all of the people who are dealing with similar issues by sharing our family’s story as it unfolds. My goals are to share any tips, strategies and resources that seem to help our family, connect with others who are dealing with similar situations, provide a glimpse of ‘insider insight’, and generally update anyone who is interested on the progress of our therapies, support groups, and just life in general.