SYKESVILLE, Md. — Megan and Pete Vasco's 7-year-old son Ronnie is known as the happiest kid at his school and on his Sykesville block.
When Ronnie was around two-years-old and his skills started to regress, his parents took to him a doctor. Soon after, he was diagnosed with autism. Pete says the diagnosis was devastating and one he didn't see coming.
"He’s my first son and there’s obviously that bond between a father and a son where we want to play catch, I’m going to teach him how to fish and he’s going to be the superstar of the soccer team like I was when I was a kid so once the initial shock kind of wears off your mind does start to kind of go to that and you find yourself not necessarily embracing the positives but thinking about the downside, the things that we’re not going to be able to do," said Pete.
Megan and Pete say they connected with Autism Speaks, created Team Ronnie and started fundraising just weeks later.
Megan says, "A lot of people that I’ve met through Autism Speaks are saying the same thing I’m feeling when I see their posts on Facebook or something and I can reach out to them and kind of discuss what we’re going through together. It is nice to have people who understand."
Through the love of his parents and the Autism Speaks' community, Ronnie has grown leaps and bounds in the last 5 years. Now, the Vascos advocate for parents of newly diagnosed children and want to make sure every family knows what signs to look for.
"That’s one of the reasons why we take all of this so seriously, why we really do push for Autism Speaks because since then I’ve met people who were just like me and I’ve tried to advocate for them and show them the signs of what to be seen and what to be looking for because I certainly didn’t see it," said Pete.
To find out more about Autism Speaks, click here.