Autism and Parkinson’s Disease, faith, love, and modern medicine

Autism and Parkinson’s Disease, faith, love, and modern medicine August 16, 2022

This piece is a little different than what I normally share. Instead of speaking about politics and faith, I will speak about faith, healthcare, and family.

Autism and Parkinson’s Disease

My journey with Parkinson’s Disease and raising a son with Autism have both profoundly impacted and shaped not only faith but our family life for the better.  Our youngest child Sam was diagnosed with Autism at nearly 3 years of age in 2003.  He received 25-30 hours a week of therapy and interventions such as Applied Behavorial Analysis and Occupational Therapy.  Up through the age eight, he then received 10-15 hours a week of outside help and therapies throughout elementary school until the age of twelve.  Our family weaned Sam off of his last therapy at age 16. Sam’s long-term therapies gave him life and dignity to shape him into the productive person he is today.

After years of therapy and interventions, Sam earned his Eagle Scout Honor in the fall of 2019, made it through three years of college, became a licensed pharmacy technician, and is applying to pharmacy school this month when he turns 22. This was only possible through miracles, Sam giving his best on a regular basis, therapies and interventions, and family support.  Having an immediate family member with Autism shaped who our family is in a profound and wonderful way.  The day-to-day experience prioritized what is truly important, instilled a steadfast commitment of not giving up, and developed a compassion for people with special challenges and disabilities.

Many of the attributes are similar in my own journey with Parkinson’s Disease.   Throughout my journey, it taught me to depend on God for everything: the ability to get up every day, care for myself, work more hours, finish raising my family, serve others, and live a full life after neurosurgery in 2017.   Having Autism and Parkinson’s Disease in our family also helped me relate to the students I serve with disabilities as an Academic Language Therapist in a way that I could not understand the families otherwise.

With the ideas of therapies giving life for Sam and neurosurgery giving me life, this ties into my desire for all Americans to have equal access to Heathcare.  Believe it or not, I support University Healthcare which is a combination of socialized and privatized medicine rather than full socialized medicine.  Healthcare is expensive which is why a variety of sources create a better healthcare system in my opinion.  Here in San Antonio, every person living in Bexar County can have equal access to the same high-quality healthcare no matter the income through University Healthcare. It’s a combination of socialized and privatized healthcare.

Healthcare is a life issue, and sadly in the United States, we have some of the best healthcare with some of the worst access for affordability, especially in Texas.  If you would like to read more about the statistics of healthcare in Texas, please do so through this link by ACA Medicaid expansion in Texas [Updated 2022 Guide] |

Please enjoy this video containing the newest neuroscience of Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery. I was fortunate to be the first patient of Advaced Deep Brain Stimulation of South Texas in 2017. If you know of a Parkison’s patient who may be interested in the surgery, it can be life-giving for many Parkinson’s patients. UT Medicine Interviewed me in this video a few months after I had neurosurgery.  Enjoy!

UT Health Patient First to Receive New Brain Stimulation System – Magazines of the Schools at UT Health San Antonio (

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