By Megan Solensky
April is Autism Awareness month, and for one parent in particular, it hits close to home.
Not only has she made a career out of helping those with Autism, but she also has family ties to the disorder as well. We sat down with Sara Kitchen to get advice for parents who may be in a similar situation.
Kitchen’s daughter Lucy struggles with social interactions and communication. She sometimes finds it hard to make friends. Lucy has autism.
“She doesn’t see autism as something holding her back,” said Kitchen. “She sees it as something that makes her unique and special and that it’s going to set her apart.”
Kitchen loves her daughter and enjoys watching her grow, but being Lucy’s parent does not come without its challenges.
“I want her to at least have the opportunity. if she chooses to do that, that’s fine,” said Kitchen. “I just don’t want her to miss out socially because she doesn’t have the skills.”
Kitchen tells us that building a support group has been extremely helpful during this process. She advises all parents to seek out if they have any questions or concerns about their children.
“Don’t be scared to do it. There was something about seeing it on a sheet of paper. It caused me anxiety,” said Kitchen. “I didn’t want to see it written out. I didn’t want someone else to say, yep, you’re right. She is artistic.”
Both Kitchen and her daughter Lucy have thrived since being introduced to various therapy programs and support groups. kitchen tells us it is easy as parents to get wrapped up in your worries, but she advises everyone in a similar situation to seek professionals who are ready to help.