An Exclusive Look at AUTISM with Luke Vincent
Encouragement Speaker Derrick Hayes gives an AUTISM interview by asking six questions through each letter in the word AUTISM to give readers insightful perspectives from parents, experts, entrepreneurs, and other leaders in the field.
Today’s AUTISM Interview is with Luke Vincent who runs a YouTube channel called Vincentville where the family shares their autism story. They do their best to promote a new age of neurodiversity through entertainment and create a community where people can share their struggles and relate to and support one another. Luke said autism has made him a better person, and his goal is to dedicate his life/work to the cause of show other people the lessons they learn in the process.
Luke and his partner Rachel have two wonderful boys diagnose with autism. Isaac, age five, is just about as happy as you could imagine a boy to be. Diagnosed with ASD at two, Luke said Isaac has been the one teaching them ever since. Cormac, who is almost two, was also very recently diagnosed with ASD and is receiving therapies early. Luke said he will do anything for these amazing kids.
A is for Awareness
-When and how did you first become aware that something was different?
When Isaac was 16 months old, a trend started where he would constantly point to letters on our shirts or his toys. As language milestones were being missed, the fascination with letters grew stronger, and he had the entire alphabet down before speaking any words. At first, we were thrilled by his knowledge (and still are to this day). But, the intense interests were coupled with more traditional milestones passing by. Our concerns grew, and he was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) at age two.
U is for Unique
-How has this experience been Unique for you and your child?
The thing is, it’s been unique in every single way. There are experiences I had growing up that I look back on fondly and always assumed I’d share in the exact same way with my children. Isaac’s unique perception of the world has compelled me to get creative and try to imagine what holiday celebrations and new traditions we can form that he can get the most out of. For instance, for Halloween, we all chose a letter and a color. We bought solid colored sweatshirts and painted our chosen letters all over them. This allowed us to dress up for Halloween and include Isaac in the excitement and the craft.
T is for Tools
-What tools are there now that were not there in the beginning that could help other parents?
We’re still relatively new to the world of autism, so I find myself looking to the seasoned veterans who have a great appreciation for newer tools to learn for myself. I will say that creating our YouTube channel and other social media formats have been huge because we’ve connected with so many people going through similar struggles. That’s an amazing advantage we have these days.
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I is for Inspire
-As a parent when you look at your child or children what inspires you?
I’m inspired by the joy I see on my son’s face when he’s doing the things that he loves. At the risk or getting too “deep,” it’s changed my perspective on the entire world and the human race. People will do all sorts of crazy things for social acceptance. But here Isaac is just displaying natural joy in non-traditional ways and not caring. It inspires me to chase happiness above all else, and it leads naturally to more love in our lives.
S is for Support
-Are there things you struggle with or have struggled with and what types of support do you still need?
The most frustrating thing to me is the lack of support that’s in place. There’s reason to think this is moving in the right direction, but we are still in constant battles on waiting lists for therapies and making phone calls with the insurance company. I hope for a day where all the supports we need are ordinary and obvious and we don’t have to fight so hard. Oh, and the general public awareness that would/should go along with this would be a huge plus.
M is for Manage
-What keys to success can you leave with parents so that they can better manage their day to day efforts?
Go out of your way to make time for yourself. There have been too many times I haven’t taken care of myself. The stress boils over and my parenting abilities suffer. For me, it can be doing photography or planning a date night. Regardless of how much of a pain it is to plan these things with our busy lives, I go out of my way to do it! One other thing I’d say is to allow your child to lead you at times. When I’ve been able to enter my son’s world, I can sometimes get that joy I’m after. It helps alleviate the pressure I put on myself to always be the one leading the charge and making the right decisions at all times.
Derrick Hayes is an author, motivational speaker, and paraprofessional in the Muscogee County School District in Columbus, Georgia.
This article was featured in Issue 78 – Back to School Success