Promises Kept: Celebrating My Son’s Journey to Graduation Day with Neurodiversity

group of graduates tossing hats in the air.
In many ways, Zach’s graduation was a culmination of our shared experiences and the silent battles fought behind the scenes. Standing there among the other proud families, I was reminded of the incredible impact of perseverance, the importance of unwavering support, and the profound bond between a father and his son.
As a father diagnosed with autism, ADHD, and dyslexia, attending my son Zach’s college graduation was an experience layered with emotions and memories. Watching Zach walk across the stage to receive his bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude no less, was not just a celebration of his academic success, but a profound moment of personal triumph for both of us.
The ceremony was a mosaic of music, orations from faculty and the intensity of 1000 or so attendants on my nervous system. Screaming their loudest in celebration. Thank goodness we thought proactively and were equipped with the accommodations to manage it all.
As the graduates crossed the stage I heard a baby’s cry from behind me. I found myself transported back to the day Zach was born. Holding him for the first time, I looked into his eyes and made a promise—a promise to always be there for him, to protect him, and never to give up on him no matter what. Reflecting on that moment, as I watched him on stage, I felt a surge of pride knowing I had kept those promises to him unwaveringly.
Zach’s journey, mirrored by my own struggles, was never easy. The labels of autism, ADHD, and dyslexia, which have shaped so much of my life’s narrative, were also part of his. Yet, here he was, proving that these labels did not define him; they were merely aspects of his unique brilliance. Each step he took on that stage was a testament to his resilience, his determination, and his incredible ability to transcend challenges.
We have a mutual respect that has taken years to foster. A reciprocity of finding inspiration from one another. Its an honor to walk by his side as he brings his art into the world and happens in the lives of others in the way only he can.
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