By Kayleigh Rahn
April is Autism Awareness Month, and Tuscola’s Heather Ludwig says these weeks are close to her heart.
Her John Ludwig is a talkative 8-year-old Tuscola boy who is a Cub Scout is on the autism spectrum.
“You don’t notice anything different about him until you realize this is a kid who is completely overwhelmed and this is a kid whose little brain is in overdrive,” his mother Heather Ludwig said.
Since hearing his diagnosis his parents Bill and Heather Ludwig have worked every to learn and adjust; however, the initial diagnosis was difficult to take.
“I saw him as my perfect child, how dare they say that,” she remembers thinking. “There’s so much you don’t know in the beginning. I went through what was kind of a grieving period, and I think some parents get stuck there. I think getting to know other folks can help you to get beyond that.”
In the beginning, the Ludwigs weren’t able to vacuum or use the blow dryer while John was home.
“Those noises were too much for him,” Heather said.
However, with help, it got better.
“Just in the last year we started movies,” she sad. “He joined Cub Scouts, and he was in the parade this year. We’d never been able to do a parade because the fire trucks with the horn and the band, the noises were too much. It’s amazing as they age and with help you are able to do more. I can blow dry my hair. I got to sit alongside the road and watch my kid go by on a float. Never would I have thought that would happen. As time goes by you can really see that, while there are new challenges, it gets better. It’s amazing how they grow and how the schools and therapies help.”
Heather was at a conference last year, and the group began talking about having a community resource group in Douglas County for Autism families. And in the meantime, Heather came on board in January at the Tuscola Public Library where unique and free community programming is a mission.
The full story can be found in the Wednesday, April 11 edition of The Tuscola Journal.