Posted by: Autism Speaks | April 14, 2011

Why I Walk – Nidia Mendoza

I knew I walked for my daughter, but I didn’t truly understand WHY, until I walked for the first time last year at the Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA. When we began this journey, I had never heard of autism, didn’t know how one can get autism, or become autistic.

When we got her diagnosis of PDD-NOS, I still didn’t understand. Why us? Why her? If this was karma, it should have been me, not to my precious daughter. It took me several years to finally accept and embrace it.

I didn’t know anybody whose child was on the Autism Spectrum – nobody in my family, immediate or not, even friends, or friends of friends. I joined support groups, began support groups, began surrounding myself with other mommy warriors… and I believe it, one in 110 children are being diagnosed everyday.

Last year, as I walked, it was very emotional for me. I tried to hold in my tears as I saw the impact that autism has.  But I also saw the solidarity of bringing the community together to help one another. I see myself in their eyes and I’m sure they see themselves in my eyes. We are there for one goal, help our children on the Autism Spectrum.

I walk for those beautiful souls, my daughter being one of them, who want to be heard, want to be appreciated and acknowledged. I walk for acceptance. As I quote Stuart Duncan from Autism Understanding and Awareness via Facebook, “Autism is neither a gift nor a curse. It just is what it is. Focus on the person. They’re the true gift.”

To my daughter Arianna,
Love your Mom – Nidia Mendoza



  1. Wow, Nidia! You took the words right out of my heart. This was so beautifully written. I too, walked for the first time at our local walk-a-thon last year. It was difficult to explain to my son why I was crying. I was touched by the families and support. And I was not alone. I walk for my son, Eloy.

    • Thanks Claire! I appreciate your love and support! Hugs back to you!

  2. I finally can share my burden that have been on my heart for many years I walk because I have a brother who walks not knowing what he walks for, but he have been walking solo for many years and making people aware of who he is, a loving caring person with autism and people are still not aware of what is going on with him they just laugh when he speaks, thinking of him as one who makes people laugh< he hugs and kisses on every one, now he is in is golden years I am determined to find a way to bring this awareness in is neck of the woods ,here is My Store. Sorry, Not MY Story, but my Brother E'an's story.
    Charles Huntly Morgan affectionately called E'an was born on Jan.23,1952 to Iris and charles H. Morgan, E'an at that time he was diagnose a mongoloid child,he is the most lovable person I have ever known we grow up together and have a very strong bond. he lives in the beautiful Island of Jamaica,in a little Town called Orange Hill,Brown's Town in the parish of St. Ann.
    E'an as everyone calls him was eager to learn and grasp every thing he heard he memorized faces things people say and have a remarkable memory the Government never saw the necessity to have a special school for him and so he was home school the best my parents could there was a school for the blind,the dumb and deaf but nothing for E'an or mongoloids as they were not categorize human so they were all kept at home sheltered by the families which were few .
    he grew up to be a man and seeing us going to school every day he always want to go also. then one by one we all migrated to different countries and he was left home with the parents. they attend church regularly with him and there is a piano in the home so he sings and plays and taught himself to play by air several instruments as he grow older he started attending many churches and ask to play for their services and God has blessed him with that gift. he plays accordion,the harmonica and the guitar , E'an attends every Crusade that comes in any town near by and he goes on foot sometimes he get teased by others and even laughed at, his shoes have been taken off his feet, and his guitar stolen,money taken from his pocket even though they see he is armless, he continues to leave early every day and attend the regular community technical school he was allowed to sit in class every day and have been doing that for the past 25 years still going to school
    so he have a lot of friends but still alone. My Dad passed in 1990 and my mom followed in 1992 and we promised to watch over him but have a very difficult time in getting him to be with us so he became a man, we had a family move into our family home so they can watch over him and keep us informed on a regular basis but it never happens, people call me every time he is sited in a different place walking for days. to make a long story shorter I would like to bring the awareness to The Island of Jamaica for E'an's sake I have tried to find a home where he can be safe the only place they could place him is with dementia patients I will not have that done to him his IQ is very high I went to visit recently and he is getting week from walking place to place and people are still not aware of his situation they want him to entertain them his harmonica that he walks and plays they take it from him and leave him without music every thing I sends him is substituted with something else.My plan is to walk with E'an in Jamaica for autism and build a home just for them and have the program and awareness campaign I cant go on I am choking up from writing about him I am about to hyperventilate will continue another time, but I am hoping that every one interested will let us organize a walk with E'an in Jamaica and change the future for others like him.,,

    • Thanks for sharing your story Grace! Hope your dream gets fulfilled. We need more awareness everywhere. Lots of luck for the homes in Jamaica!

  3. I walk for acceptance too. It’s so important because we don’t have that completely yet.

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