Special Needs Families Feature #2 with Terah Boyd & her family

August 25, 2020

Special Needs Families Feature #2 with Terah Boyd & her family

 

Hello! My name is Terah Boyd and I along with my husband Victor Boyd are the proud parents of three children, two of which are children with Autism. We currently reside in Seven Springs NC. My husband is an Enterprise manager. I am a Autism Ambassador, freelance writer and author to a book that was inspired by my Experiences with my Neuro diverse daughter 

When I first suspected our son was different he was around 2 1/2 years old. Although he was a very happy toddler, he was severely behind verbally. He wasn’t stringing together sentences. And any verbiage consisted of one word declarations, that quickly became the highlight of our lives as he did them rarely and only if he actually saw the physical thing he wanted. This was scary for us because he seemed to be in agony in the moments he couldn’t relay to us his needs.  

My daughter however was a very different story. While there were tale, tale signs from kindergarten through fifth grade it wasn’t until six grade that we got an Autism diagnosis for her as well as a ADHD diagnoses the following year. She appeared to be a Neuro typical girl. She was vibrant, an awesome communicator and super outgoing. But around 3rd grade the bottom fell out. She was unable to keep up academically and became over ridden with anxiety and excessively hyper. She literally turned into a different child right before our eyes in the span of two years.  

The most surprising thing about parenting children with Autism is how much they have changed me for the better. Initially I was terrified and so bent on hiding them from the world. But I reached a very loud point in our Journey where I realized how very wrong I was and how right they are!! They have made life so beautiful and comical. 

The hardest part about parenting a child with Autism is all the extreme ignorance that exists in our world when it comes to children who have any type of special need.  

Specifically speaking about the educational system. They are so far behind and unwilling to be creative and aggressive when educating our children who think differently from us. It has flabbergasted me! My husband and I have had to fight tooth and nail to make sure that our children are treated with respect and given individualized appropriate curriculum. The interactions with principals and teachers who are either uncomfortable and or completely unaware of how to interact with a child with Autism has been infuriating for us. And while we have found tremendous favor with the schools we have been involved in, it has only come after a great deal of noise making on behalf of our children.

(This year we have decided to homeschool both our Neuro diverse children) 

I learned a hard lesson when parenting my child who is Neuro typical.  The biggest mistake I made was thinking my children with Autism needed more care. This is incorrect. They simply need a different kind of care. The needs of my Neuro typical kid are just as important as my two who have fallen behind.  

They have definitely forced the “prude” out of me!! My daughter specifically has taught me to slow down and enjoy my life however messy it is. In general I am much less concerned with presenting my family a certain way and focused more on making sure that we enjoy our lives. I’ve learned to admit when I’m wrong very quickly.  I’ve learned my way is not the only way. I’ve also learned how to enjoy awkward moments as I watch my children navigate interacting with strangers. Great comedy material! 

My daughter is very animated. All the world is her stage and she is going to deliver the best performance of her life in every act.  My son is so bold and vocal about everything. He has very few fears which is a far cry from the diminished boy I use to know. He has a sarcastic sense of humor and he’ll hit you right between the eyes and not bat an eyelash. I love it!!  

My parenting triumphs have been excepting where we are and really enjoying the adventure. My parenting struggles have been the moments when I can’t seem to help my ND children emotionally when they are hurting about something. It is not as simple as talking it out. It is an intense ordeal as we weave and manoeuvre our way through their very complicated minds and help them find the pathway back to peace. This is the same for my NT child. 

To the parents of NT children, please understand that we desire the same things for our children that you do for yours. ‘THE BEST’ We are pushing and fighting daily to make sure that our kids don’t get left behind. My hope is that we have your respect and not your pity. 

In terms of change, I have definitely seen a spike in the amount of children who are diagnosed with Autism each year. With that being said there is still a lack of awareness and acceptance in society. While people are speaking more and more about Autism it has been a slow trickle down to the places where it’s needed like the educational system. In public people still watch my son as he ‘stims’ because they are not sure what they’re watching. We need an overhaul in most states as it pertains to educating children with special needs. Police officers need training on how  to identify and properly respond when interacting with people who have Autism or any special need. We need society as a whole to ‘get with it’ and see that these are Beautiful deserving human beings with parents and caregivers who would take a bullet for them. While our kids have an opportunity to experience having a job through our family owned businesses, that is not everyone’s case. We desperately need for the work force to wake up and make room for people with Autism



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