LaRita Smith, LBSW
Parent Autism Advocate
My son has taught me so much about life and is on track to graduate in December 2022 with his Ph.D. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from Georgia Tech. Isn’t God great and merciful! We think as a society that if you don’t shine and stand out in life, that your life is not as meaningful. We want the lead role in the movie, board room, classroom, personal life, jobs, careers, etc. My son is WINNING and is presenting his research to colleagues and feels like a team player.
He told me that he still doesn’t like much attention on him, but he feels accomplished. He is a meaningful member of the CCE/Grover research group at Georgia Tech, doing kinetic modeling and thermodynamic calculations for prebiotic reactions, where his expertise is a crucial component of the research. He has found his niche. His appearance on Jeopardy put him in the spotlight on television and online. He didn’t win the game, but having the ability to reach 9 million people at one time and spread the message of hope to families that have a child under the spectrum is priceless. Upon leaving the set at Sony Pictures Studios in California, Kelvin couldn’t make it out of the door for so many people thanking him for his message. The producers of the show and the contestants gave Kelvin hugs and thanks for his participation. A little boy came up to my son, and his mother asked if he could take a picture of Kelvin. The mother began crying because her son has Asperger's, and she was so full of emotion, seeing how excited her son was at the show and how he looked up to Kelvin as a role model.
Kelvin is comfortable existing in life without the fanfare but giving service to others through advocacy, being an example on the spectrum and WINNING, and making a difference in others’ lives through teaching and research is remarkable. Every child and adult on the spectrum have been blessed with gifts. Remove the ribbon, take the paper off, open the box, and find the treasure inside. It doesn’t matter where the individual is on the spectrum; you can be high functioning, in the middle, or have a few more challenges. Find the gift and focus on it.
How Can We Help You?
It all began five years ago; I began to seriously focus on a platform that will empower and inspire individuals and families on the autism spectrum. At KLSpeaks, LLC, we offer Autism Academic Coaching Services, Inspirational Guest Speaking, and ASD Parent Consultation Services from a parental perspective offering practical advice and experiences from raising a child from preschool to Ph.D.
I asked Kelvin, “Is there anything else I should add?” And he said, “Tell the reader, I specifically want to focus on those diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome/High Functioning Autism to go beyond the range of predefined limits set by statistics and research.”
Hello, Winners. Thanks for checking out my page.
I am LaRita Smith, the proud mom of Kelvin Howard Smith, who was diagnosed at age 3 with Pervasive Developmental Disorder)- Not Otherwise Specified. This was given to Kelvin because it was determined that he had some but not all the characteristics of autism.
He was diagnosed at age 10 with Asperger's Syndrome. When the neuropsychologist sat both of us in his office and stated after completing a battery of tests that Kelvin is classic Asperger's, I looked at my son and said, “Everything is going to be OK.”
I looked at the doctor and said, “What now? I need all of the resources you have.” After leaving the office, we sat down in the car, and I said, “Son, we will not let this diagnosis beat us.” Mom will learn how to support you in every way from reading books, workshops, conferences, resources for social skills therapy, sharing with extended family members, focusing on his strengths, and embracing his differences. That is exactly what I have done for the last 25 years. I have truly been his advocate and continue to be. This is a lifetime commitment.
LaRita Smith LBSW