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Autism's Impact: A Mother Speaks Out

As Flavia Barry prepares to participate in Walk Now for Autism Speaks on Sept. 30 in Boston, she explains it is the impact the condition has had on her son's lives that spurred her to participate.

Plans. They are what we build our future around. They can just as easily fall apart with one piece of information. For Flavia Barry, it was the diagnosis of her two sons with Autism.

"It's sad. It's very sad. I am still crying. You get pregnant and then you have these beautiful babies. As a woman, as a mom you make plans 30 years from now," said Barry of Cameron who is five years-old and Fletcher who is 30 months-old.

The diagnosis of the disorder that affects development has changed the family member's immediate lives while drawing the future into question.

"The first words out of my mouth were, is he going to be able to go to college? Is he going to be able to marry? Is he going to be able to have a normal life?" said Barry.

Barry's children are in programs to ensure that they can reach their full potential. Participating in the Walk Now for Autism Speaks in Boston is her way of giving back so that others can get the same kind of support she and her sons have received.

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"It's just a way to help," said Barry who has seen the positive impact that these programs have had in her own children.

Yet the difficulty of supporting her children is even more pronounced with some people not fully understanding Autism. Other people do not see the difficulties of raising children with the diagnosis on a daily basis, she said.

“I take one day at a time because not many people understand what we go through," said Barry of the disorder that can manifest itself in many ways, including being non-verbal like her son Fletcher. "People look at him and they say 'He's not autistic. He's normal.'"

More information about Barry's walk with her team is available on the walk's website.

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