Hi my friends, I'm Shannon.
I am 52 years young and the mother of two amazing children. I am a Master Certified Parent Coach working exclusively with moms raising a child or children diagnosed with autism.
Jordan is 25 and was diagnosed with autism when he was five. He is MY WHY and the reason I am here with you today. I also have an incredibly smart, beautiful, and athletic 23-year-old daughter, Maddie. She graduated college in May of 2021 with a Major in Communications and a double Minor in Sports & Business studies. She was a student-athlete playing collegiate softball and is now working in the Athletic Department at her alma mater. Being their MOM is my greatest blessing.
The final piece of our family puzzle is Dave. Dave is my person and the man I chose to spend forever with. You will hear many stories about Dave and I and our adventures inside the Sisterhood and on our NYAAM Podcast, but he is definitely the perfect fit for us.
Dave knew nothing about autism when he came into our lives. He learned autism from our family and has traveled this road with us. Despite our many autism challenges along the way, leaving was never an option for him, he was all in and for that, I am so grateful. He chose us and together we are a family.
Jordan did not meet his typical milestones and had numerous ear infections beginning at 6 months of age. By 3 years old, he was diagnosed PDD-NOS and we received the autism diagnosis when he turned five.
I remember hearing the words "kids like him" for the very first time. I remember the day I was told that he would not be able to stay in a regular kindergarten class and that he wouldn't ride the bus the other kids in our neighborhood rode. He would have to ride the "special bus". The day I got the call that he wouldn't stay in his seat on the bus and was taking his clothes off so they were going to put him in a harness.
It was those moments and so many more when I found myself so sad, so alone & so scared. It was all so overwhelming and no one I knew had a child with autism. I had no idea where to turn.
How or why Jordan had autism never mattered. I focused on how I was going to make his life the best it could be. We do not discuss any of the controversies around the HOW and/or WHY of autism here at Not Your Average Autism Mom.
Their father and I divorced shortly after Jordan's autism diagnosis. Divorce rates amongst parents of children on the spectrum are very high, and yes, I am part of that statistic. Following my divorce, a few very difficult years followed. After putting that behind me, I was committed to becoming the best single mother that I could be. Their father and I co-parented for many years, but they always lived solely with me.
I went on to become an Educational Advocate and a Certified Parent Coach and spent the next 10 years building an Advocacy company and working with the most amazing families and Advocates.
Jordan always had significant social deficits and behavior struggles. He has never been easy to figure out. He had the BEST teachers and educational teams throughout his education & graduated High School in 2015 with a special diploma.
In 2016 when Maddie graduated High School and was on her way to college, we relocated from Florida to the mountains of North Georgia. Jordan attends a Day Program for Adults with Different Abilities. They have an amazing staff who work very closely with us. I can't even begin to explain how grateful I am that we chose to move.
There are many therapies and services available for your child, you will find those, but this, this is for YOU. This is the support that you will need for your mental well-being as you navigate this autism parenting journey.
Imagine what it would feel like to know you aren't alone. To know there are other moms who have gone before you from who you will gain strength and wisdom. To know that you will build relationships and friendships with other moms across the world who are traveling the same journey as you, right now, right where you are. Maybe you are brand new to the world of autism? You aren't alone. Imagine that and then know, you found us.
We show up on good days and sometimes not-so-good days, but we are all in and we truly are better together.