My name is Ryan Whitehouse.
I have monster calves.
I am a thirty eight year old man who has been married to his high school sweetheart for 15 years now. The fruits of that union are Gabriel (10 years old), Olivia (12 years old), and Jacob (14 years old).
My wife (Beth) and I dated for three years at Schenck High School, in East Millinocket, ME. We both attended the University of New England in Biddeford, ME. In five years, I got my Master’s Degree in Physical Therapy. Beth managed to get an Associate’s Degree in Nursing, as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. We married the month after college graduation, and began our family in June of the next year. Things were going perfectly according to plan until…
Jacob was diagnosed with autism when he was three. We packed up our city lives (Portland, ME) and moved back to our hometown to be closer to our parents/family/church. I got a job at the local hospital and Beth became a stay at home mom. Jacob needed (and deserved) someone who could be home with him at all times; not to mention the endless trips to therapies, behavioral specialists, and other clinicians.
Now, 11 years later, we live in the house I grew up in. I still work at the local hospital, and Beth is a case manager at a special needs day program/school. Jacob’s entering high school in the fall, and our other two are in middle school. Gabe is a gymnast, soccer player, thespian, and word nerd. Olivia is our social butterfly; a cheerleader, gymnast, ballerina, author, and budding musician. Jacob is a YouTuber, comedian, expert video gamer, dinosaur connoisseur, and all around great kid.
Beth and I have become spokespeople for autism awareness and advocacy. We’re the driving force behind Jake’s Team (though not the captain, that honor goes to Jake), which is the name we raise money and awareness under for the Autism Society of Maine. We are also Autism Information Specialists. We’ve been on parent panels, filmed commercials, and even starred (sort-of) in an hour-long documentary about Making Our Way: Autism.
I began this blog/website as an effort to expand our reach when demystifying autism. I hope to share our successes and failures, insights and oversights, regarding autism and how it affects us. More specifically, what it means to us through Jacob. Hopefully you’ll learn something, preferably about autism. At the very least, I hope you have a chuckle.
P.S. Please contact me with questions you’d like me to answer about autism or life, or simply to reach out and say Hi.