I am the wife and caregiver of a wounded combat veteran who suffers PTSD/ war trauma after three years of combat in theater. I am a mother of six children. I have Autism (late diagnosis and plenty of co-morbids), Complex Motor Tourettes and SPD. My children have Autism Spectrum Disorder. The co-morbids just in this house alone cover nearly every aspect of the spectrum. To list a few: SPD, OCD, emotional confusion, Lack of coordination, echolalia, encephalopathy, Autistic Migraines, Tourrettes, running impulses, elopement, GI issues, hyperinsulinemia etc. The list honestly sounds like the long medical disclaimers at the end of a commercial. All three of my boys were non-verbal til near or at five years old, but be weary of the child who only speaks in songs,verses and phrases.

I majored in PR/Advocacy Campaigning with a minor in Mass Communication. Upon our CONSTANT fight with the school system to support our children I found it necessary to go through Vanderbilt, in Nashville, to acquire my SPED needs advocacy certificate to advocate appropriately for my children.

I learned in my continuing fight for my children that far too many special needs children are falling through the cracks. I would not say "falling" nearly as quickly as I would say shoved into the cracks. I learned that the ignorance is overwhelming even in the education system. But I am sure that almost nothing hurts worse than the misunderstandings even amongst the most important people in the lives of special needs families. I have been blessed with this gift of being able to express the experience of severe Autism and Tourettes. I can express myself in writing clearly but I struggle much in verbal communication. My goal is to, frankly, build a bridge of communication. My hope is to respond as a wife, a person with Autism, a mother raising children with special needs, a caregiver, and an advocate who is tired of seeing the pretense of support in education while most parents echo a lack thereof. If Autism were a foreign language - my hope is that I can be something of a translator.

I do not sugar coat or dance around the issues. I'm praying God will be able to use me here.