'Thought It Was Something I Had Done,' Toni Braxton on How She Felt after Discovering Son Has Autism

R&B DIva Toni Braxton opened up about how she reacted to her son Diezel's early Autism diagnosis. 

When her son Diezel was a toddler, Toni Braxton realized that there was something different about him.

She shared her misgivings with her doctor, and he came back with a heartbreaking diagnosis: Braxton's beautiful little boy was on the Autism spectrum.

"As a mom I knew something was different about him when he was probably nine months old. By the time he became a year and a half I thought ‘He’s not developing like his older brother.’ It was inconclusive, and finally at three they said, ‘Yes, he’s autistic.'”

TONY BRAXTON'S HEARTBREAK

Braxton's first reaction was guilt. Had she done something - anything - during her pregnancy or during his infancy to trigger Diezel's condition?

Then Braxton took her courage in both hands and resolved to fight to give her boy the best possible chance at leaving a good and fulfilling life.

EARLY DIAGNOSIS WAS FUNDAMENTAL

Braxton reveals that an early diagnosis was fundamental, as was therapy. Research indicated that early intervention leads to positive outcomes later in life for autistic children, so Braxton was determined to get Diezel into therapy as soon as possible.

Because autism is a spectrum disorder, each person with autism is different, with different abilities, and a different prognosis.

TONI BRAXTON AND AUTISM SPEAKS

With the guidance of Angela Geiger, CEO of the organization Autism Speaks, Braxton enrolled her son in several therapy programmes. Braxton became passionate about the organization's mission and has become their official spokesperson.

ONE OF THE LUCKY ONES

Diezel is now 16, and Braxton has stated that he is no longer autistic. The teenager appears to have recovered completely and is now starting a high-profile modeling career.

Braxton is committed to working with Autism Speaks and helping other parents coping with their Autism Spectrum children face the challenge with hope of a positive outcome for their child's future.

For the Braxton family, the road has been long and hard, but the future looks rosy for Diezel.

AUTISM - SILENT HEARTBREAK

Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech, and nonverbal communication. According to the Centers for Disease Control, autism affects an estimated 1 in 59 children in the United States today.

There isn't only one autism but many subtypes, influenced by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Because autism is a spectrum disorder, each person with autism is different, with different abilities, and a different prognosis.

Indicators of autism usually appear by age 2 or 3, with some appearing as early as 18 months.

Some associated development delays can appear even earlier, and often, it can be diagnosed as early as 18 months. Research shows that early intervention leads to positive outcomes later in life for people with autism.

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