HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – “They are my number one, my one and only.” Leticia Sartain has twin boys, both of those boys have Autism.
The pair is 11-years-old, but Leticia first started to notice signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder years ago. She and her husband first noticed it in her son, Jack, when the two were toddlers. She told News 19 her son Luke would reach milestones right at the peak, or maybe slightly behind, but Jack wouldn’t at all.
So, she started taking Jack to physical therapy, then speech therapy, early intervention, and eventually Applied Behavior Analysis therapy. Once she started ABA with Jack, she noticed some signs of Autism in Luke, too. Luke was able to read, but not able to communicate.
Leticia told News 19 that once she enrolled the two in school-based ABA therapy, she saw her children flourish. “From there on I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel for my kids.”
Now, every day has its own challenges. But, one of her biggest has been to keep an open mind and always be willing to learn. “You know, Autism is not a one syndrome or one disease thing like I used to think at the time. It has all of these other components to it,” Leticia explained.
With this, she also shared with News 19 that parents or guardians end up wearing many different hats. “We end up becoming nurses and therapists and teachers and caregivers, but you still want to be a mom, so you have to balance all of that.”
She also reflects on all she’s learned. One thing she wishes she could have told herself years ago- don’t be afraid to feel your feelings. “You have to grieve. Diagnosis is rough,” Leticia explained. “I heard before someone say, “You lose a life you’ve never lived,” and it’s true because there are so many dreams involved in motherhood and then a diagnosis of Autism comes your way and it shakes your fears.”
But, she also explained that while it is important to grieve, there will also be moments of hope, happiness, and gratefulness. “I feel so blessed that I see my kids beyond a disability. Beyond any labels, any report, any diagnoses given to them, I see my children.”
In addition to being a mom, Leticia spends her free time bringing awareness to raising children with Autism. She is currently working with the Make-a-Way Foundation to raise money for a sensory room at Ardmore High School. Anyone interested in donating or learning more about the fundraiser can do so here.
She also has her own blog that provides insight on raising her twin boys. She told News 19 that she loves to connect with other parents through the internet. The blog gives her the opportunity to do that while also helping other parents who are in a similar situation.