Jacqueline Marks, mom of three students attending Eden II Programs recently had her story about raising three boys with autism featured in the Staten Island Advance and on SILive.com. Read this repost of her journey.

Staten Island Advance Published in the Staten Island Advance
 Monday, April 23, 2012
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Our life may not be quite like yours. We are the Marks — Aaron and Jacqueline — parents of the Jacob, Dylan, and Tyler Marks. Our boys have autism. Autism has touched many families, but ours is different as our 10-year-old triplets have all been diagnosed with autism. When we learned that we were having triplets, we knew that our lives would be different from other families. Although, we could never have imagined just how different. Despite all the issues of being born premature, I thought that they would grow up and have wonderful lives playing sports, learning all we had to share with them, and leading happy and healthy lives. I assumed that they would make tons of friends and because there were three of them, my house would be filled with rowdy, hungry boys. … My biggest desire was to see them living full, happy and independent lives. That is where your hope brings you when you have children. Those hopes tripled the day our boys were born.

As intense as our hopes and dreams for our family were, the heartache of the reality brought us into world which we never imagined living in. Autism stole the dreams I had for my three beautiful sons. Such intense hope for your children however, never really dies. You would give up on your children and their future if you stayed in a place of loss. As parents, our instinct to care and provide the best possible care and support for our boys became our passion. This passion has been our story, our driving force. We filled our home with the love and support of our family and provided a team of skilled professional ABA teachers and therapists to help our boys learn, and learn they did! …

A day in our lives begins as it does for most. The boys wake up most of the time before the sun comes up. … Throughout the day, they have a variety of therapists and support staff that come into our home to enhance their opportunities to succeed in their everyday lives. Every weekend our support staff takes them out into the community.

All of these efforts are geared towards the eventual goal of greater independence. We feel it is the greatest gift we can give them! … Sometimes the boys have meltdowns in the community that cause people to stare at our family and pass judgments. Their therapies are provided to teach appropriate skills needed to function in everyday life as well as to reduce and redirect maladaptive behaviors .

We are appreciative for those who care for and teach our children on a daily basis. Our “unique situation” may be unimaginable to the average family but, we are anything but average. We are thankful for our different path, with all of its bumps, surprises, twists, and turns, it’s ours! Our three amazing boys are ours! They are labeled the same but they are each different…our dream may have been altered but our story is far from over!

— Submitted by Jacqueline H. Marks of Eltingville

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