Children and adults with autism Shine On!

Our son Jack was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder when he was 4 years old. But it took 2 years to get confirmation of what my husband and I already knew. At that time autism was so ambiguous that even our pediatrician couldn’t pick up on the subtle signs in a brief annual exam. His explanation for his behavior was that Jack was a boy. He kept sending us to “speech therapy” for our non-verbal son. Jack didn’t have a “speech” problem, he had a communication problem.

We knew that Jack was different from our 3 girls, so we did our homework. We were determined to find relief for this little boy who thought the world was ending if the channel on the TV was changed. We felt like failures because we couldn’t understand his wants and needs and he was so frustrated that we didn’t get what he was trying to tell us. We studied every quirky act, his lack of language, his outbursts and meltdowns and his obsessions with order and routine.  Our pediatrician was wrong. It was more than a gender difference.

After switching doctors, we received validation of our concerns within only a few minutes. We knew we had to make up for lost time so we immersed him into all of the therapies necessary to help him. I quit my job because my full time job now included 12 therapy appointments a week, and researching programs and resources for him.

My husband and I know the ropes when it comes to raising typical children. There are daycare centers on every corner, sports and activity programs, and routine activities like shopping and haircuts are a breeze with our girls. But we had to find programs and businesses that are accommodating and welcome a child with autism.

After sharing resources with other parents of autistic children, I had friends referring their friends and relatives to me to help them through navigating the world of an autistic child.

Getting your autistic child’s hair cut is just different. Going to the dentist is different. And finding these autism-friendly businesses became a  bit of a past time for me. After sharing tips and resources with other parents, we knew we had to create a website for parents to discover and share their favorite autism-friendly businesses. is that resource directory for all of us. Created BY parents, FOR parents. Please share your favorite businesses, request us to find something for you, and visit us often. We will be constantly updating this directory to help all of us help our children SHINE ON!