Another name for Autism Awareness Month is Autism Acceptance Month. That’s what Kendra Haynes– whose son Carey was diagnosed at age 3– prefers to celebrate.


Carey’s behavior never was the same as other children his age. “My husband and I noticed he was missing milestones and had speech delays,” Kendra said, “but we were in denial. In hindsight, we realize it was clear there was an issue.”

“That was a lonely time,” explained Kendra. “Birthday parties were a nightmare because he couldn’t transition from playtime to sitting at the table for the food.” At social gatherings, Kendra and her husband, Big Carey, spent more time monitoring Carey than enjoying the event. “It was very isolating,” she said.

The pediatrician referred Kendra to Child Development Watch for developmental assessment, and they referred her to a developmental pediatrician, who made the autism diagnosis.

“In Delaware, the waiting list for services is long,” she said. “You have to be your own advocate. Learn as much as you can and don’t depend on others to have your child’s best interest at heart. Don’t accept everything they tell you…you may have to push back.”

Kendra appreciated the support of Autism Delaware and the Parent Information Center as she worked through accessing the services Carey needed.

“We value our village. We have supportive friends and family who have gone out of their way to create safe spaces where Carey can just be Carey.”

Now at age 13, Carey benefits from the special services he receives in public school with his Individual Educational Plan (IEP). “He has had some wonderful teachers,” said Kendra. “One teacher has been particularly helpful and she has worked with Carey for three years.

“We know he will always need support,” she said. “He cannot take care of himself independently. I just want him to be as independent as he can be, to achieve life skills and be a happy person.”

PHOTO: The Haynes family: Kendra, Carey, Big Carey and Carter