When Lincoln was 18 months old he had a severe reaction to amoxicillin which hospitalized him. After his reaction, we noticed that his sweet voice was gone - all the words that he knew disappeared. We went to several specialists, doctors and speech therapists and each one told us, "he's an only child - he'll talk when he's ready." We knew in our hearts something was wrong.
March 2020 we took him to one more specialist and what we found out nearly broke us. Lincoln was diagnosed with Level 2 Autism. That night we mourned what could have been - what should have been. The next day I put my big girl pants on and called every autism clinic within 60 miles and got him on every waiting-list.
Fast forward to today, Lincoln is doing 30 hours of ABA therapy (Applied Behavioral Analysis), 1 hour of Speech Therapy, 1 hour of Occupational Therapy and school. He works harder than most people I know. He has made such huge strides - even calling me mama for the first time since he was a baby (insert waterworks).
We have kept Lincoln's diagnosis quiet for the past two years. Not because we were embarrassed but because we wanted Lincoln to tell his own story one day. Since he still can't tell his story, we've decided to share it in hopes to spread awareness and acceptance.
Autism does not define Lincoln but it is a part of who he is and we wouldn't change him for the world.
This year for Lincoln's Way we are donating a portion of the proceeds to Lincoln's ABA clinic to gift them new OT equipment / therapy materials. We have also partnered with a local foundation called The Autism Collective. The Autism Collective coordinates early identification, diagnosis, therapy, services and support. They not only serve children but also adults as they continue to connect individuals to local resources they need to thrive in our community. We hope in the future that Lincoln's Way can raise enough money to send a child to ABA Therapy for an entire year. We are so fortunate that we are able to send Lincoln and hope we can help another family with this amazing therapy.
If you aren't local and / or can't attend the race - join us virtually. Send me your address, I'll mail you a shirt and then send me a picture of you and your team.
On race day, please meet at 9:00 am at Absolute Hair (437 E Washington St | East Peoria) to complete registration / shirt pick up. You can use street parking behind the shop or the Middle School parking lot. The race will use the paved trail to run / walk the 5K and 10K. Starbucks coffee, snacks and water will be available after the race.
Telling our story has made us extremely vulnerable but if we can help educate just one person on Autism then it was worth it. Hope to see you all on race day!
Lincoln's ASD journey so far: https://vimeo.com/729051798