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Woman With Autistic Son Reflects on the Struggles, Joys of Raising Him

nathan autismSPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) – Lydia Alicea never realized that something might be amiss with her son Nathan until he went to day care, when she realized that something may not be right.

“He wasn’t making eye contact, wasn’t interacting with other kids and that’s when we had concerns,” she said.

She had never heard of Autism and she described feeling lost after his diagnosis, but she did everything she could for her son.

“There were many years of therapy, trips to Children’s Hospital Boston and I had to just educate myself and my family on how to deal with him,” said Alicea.

Now, Nathan is 20-years-old. He has a job and a black belt.

“I like to work at Big Y, like to play some video games and have some fun, and watch the Springfield Falcons,” he said.

And of course, his favorite part of the hockey games are the fights.

“Fighting! Fighting, yea!” he said.

Looking back, Lydia said all the struggles she went through after Nathan’s diagnosis were worth it to see all of his accomplishments today. And she has some advice for all the parents who have children with Autism as well.

“I think lots of patience, understanding and a lot of love. Those are the three keys that got me where I am today. Because every child is different,” she said.

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WGGB encourages readers to share their thoughts and engage in healthy dialogue about the issues. Comments containing personal attacks, profanity, offensive language or advertising will be removed. Please use the report comment function for any posts you feel should be reviewed. Thank you.
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