Autism Parenting Magazine Issue 74 (Member's Dashboard) - Page 28

PERSONAL NARRATIVE Empowering My Special Needs Son to Reach for the Stars By Shelly HENLEY A s an autism parent, you find yourself in a lot of unanticipated roles through your child’s life. I’ve found out I was a pretty good play- mate, tantrum wrangler, list maker, and scheduler. We are all thrust into roles like attorney, speech therapist, tutor, and read- ing specialist—roles for which we have no training other than it is imperative we are our chil- dren’s most enthusiastic supporters. One of the roles I never thought I’d have is entrepreneur. 28 | Autism Parenting Magazine | Issue 74 Our company, No Label at the Table Food Company, began when my son was turning 18 years old and transitioning to adulthood. He said he wanted to be a chef in a restaurant. Initially, I giggled and told him, “No, you like to eat at restaurants!” Then I realized, no, of course, he wants to cook. He started a gluten/ca- sein-free diet when he was a toddler. Eighteen years ago, no one knew what gluten-free was, so I pulled him up on the kitchen island, and we baked. Baking and cooking are process-driven. You follow the steps