Lori Fiordilino was honored at a recent Nutley Board of Commissioners meeting along with other parents with a proclamation for National Autism Awareness Month.
Fiordilino, a Nutley mom, deals with autism all day, every day and knows firsthand the joys and challenges that go along with being the mother of an autistic child.
She was recognized by the board during Autism Awareness Month, which was observed in April. She said she is happy for any help she can get in raising people’s awareness that her son Alec, five, is part of the wide spectrum of autism disorders.
“We’ve made a lot of progress in raising people’s understanding, but we have a long way still to go,” Fiordilino said in an interview Sunday night. “Every day is different, and every day is a new struggle.”
She said her son, Alec has been helped by the Nutley Public School District's programs, which offer a wide range of help to special-needs students. Special needs students are helped with individualized education programs that can include reading and math instruction, according to the district website.
The Fiordilinos’ story began when Alec was diagnosed after his second birthday, but every diagnosis is different.
“It’s kind of crazy, that the spectrum goes from really mild to severe autism,” Lori Fiordilino said. “He’s somewhere in the middle.”
The simplest trips can cause Alec to “meltdown,” she said, especially in any new place.
“I can’t even tell when he’s sick, because he can’t tell me,” Lori Fiordilino said. “It breaks my heart. Some days are wonderful, but you never know what the next day will bring.”
The National Autism Awareness Association offers information about autism’s signs, screening, the causes and research. Autism Speaks was founded in 2005 to fund research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism and to increase awareness of autism spectrum disorders, while advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families.