Posted by: Autism Speaks | September 28, 2009

Why We Walk: Because Autism is a New Term in Our House


My family and I participated in Walk Now for Autism Speaks in Rochester, N.Y. The reason we decided to participate was because “autism” is a fairly new term in our home. Our first and only daughter was just diagnosed with autism this past June when she was 15 months old. We haven’t had much experience with autism, nor did we understand how much this diagnosis affects the whole world of a family.

Since being diagnosed with autism, my daughter has had multiple therapists that have helped us to better understand her. We have also learned the ins and outs of the lifestyle change associated with a diagnosis. It is beyond us how something so common can have such little information about the causes and cures.

Walk Now for Autism Speaks presented us a chance to give support to other families going through the same things we have. We have learned it is not about a loss. We learned that autism does not have to be a tragedy. Until every person realizes that autism does not have to negative, the struggle to raise awareness is difficult. But once anyone meets our daughter and learns she is a child who has autism, their whole opinion of the diagnosis changes. Questions are asked and an understanding is closer.

My family has seen nothing but positive outcomes from our daughter. Every family should feel the sense of pride and joy we have. Every family should have the opportunities we have had for our daughter. Every family, with or without a child who has autism, should understand how likely it is for this lifestyle to be part of their lives in some way, one day.

By Stacey, Patrick and Braelyn Eller
Erie, Penn.
Would you like to share with our community why you walk? Please send 300 words or fewer and a photo to us at


  1. My heart goes out to you! I was in a similar place with my son a year ago and understand everything you’ve touched upon in your post. i feel like my son changes people’s opinion of autism everyday and that his diagnosis is nothing to be ashamed of! Thansk for sharing your story!

  2. Way to go Stacey! You all have worked hard with your daughter. Greg and I both miss you! Awesome paper!

  3. your positive outlook will be so important in your daughter’s future – she is so lucky to have you and I know you feel you are the lucky ones – that message comes through loud and clear! Best wishes to all of you!

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