As seen in the St. Paul Pioneer Press on 5/3/15 My son Jack turned 16 on the same day in June 2007 that a Wisconsin toddler drowned after wandering away from home. Though we never met, my heart ached for the parents whose fate I had feared. I’d worried about a number of scenarios that…

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As seen in the St. Paul Pioneer Press on April 21, 2019. A familiar knot formed in my stomach as the words scrolled across the bottom of the TV screen late last month. A 27-year-old non-verbal woman with autism was missing from her Texas home. My mind flashed back to 2007 when, in the span…

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Have you noticed that blue is the new pink? It’s Autism Awareness Month, and following the lead of breast cancer advocates, autism advocates are bluing it up to highlight a condition that is near to my heart. Ten years ago I began writing about autism and the challenges it presented for my son and our…

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May 2, 2014 We were driving to the store when my typically reticent son broke the silence. “Do you regret having me?” he asked. He knew I loved him, he said, but felt responsible for my abandoning my career when he was diagnosed with autism in 1993. I responded quickly, hoping to quash his festering…

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September 30, 2011 Jimmy Reagan’s story unfolds through pictures. It begins with baby photos his parents treasure: Jimmy as an infant, snacking in his high chair, impish grin stretching between rosy cheeks; Jimmy frolicking with his dad in a pile of leaves, bright eyes focused on the camera. Then the images reflect a dramatic change.…

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September 17, 2010 Last fall my friend Jody shared a piece of advice I could not ignore. As the mother of a now-adult male with autism, she counseled, you must read Nancy Perry’s book, “Adults on the Autism Spectrum Leave the Nest: Achieving Supported Independence.” It was great and timely advice. Perry writes about a…

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THE ROADMAP Stories about anticipating, planning for and navigating life’s twists, turns, tragedies, and triumphs. Oh, the lessons I’ve learned. And, farewell. By Caryn Sullivan | October 4, 2020 From the St. Paul Pioneer Press Opinion page, October 4, 2019 It’s said that the right decisions are the hardest ones to make. That’s certainly been…

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April 20, 2012 Time can be our ally. It can also be our adversary. For months now I have been marking its passage with ever-growing dread.  By the end of May, our school district will have fulfilled its mandate to educate my son.  As its’ obligation is being extinguished, mine is being rekindled with more…

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