John was diagnosed with autism in 1988 at about 3 1/2 years old. At the time, we were as sad as if he had died. Now that John is 25, he’s happy, helpful, and, most importantly, still making progress in many areas. He may not have the life that we envisioned when he was born, but it’s still a meaningful, productive one. I think that’s one of the biggest life lessons that autism has taught me: that ultimately, we can all be contributing members of society.