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My Amazing Journey of Autism

When I was in kindergarten I was diagnosed with autism.

My development began normally until eighteen months when I began to regress, losing the ability to communicate words I had previously learned and ceasing to have eye contact. My speech was so delayed that my seven-year-old brother, Chuck boasted to his friends, “I think my brother Ron is from Norway because he speaks Norwegian.” Through fourteen years of intense speech therapy, I was able to overcome my communication deficits and become an effective communicator of the gospel.

I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten- the great locust and young locust, the other locust and the locust swarm—my great army that I sent among you. Your blessings will begin today. Joel 2:25

Every night my parents helped me with life skills. My mom used my special interest in prairie dogs to make learning fun. Through my parents’ care by eighth grade, I was mainstream education.

My junior year of high school, I was on the right track. I made the honor roll two straight semesters, was a star athlete, memorized over 2,000 Scriptures, and received Jesus as my Lord and Savior.

Ron Sandison running track in state final

In the spring of 1994, our 3,200-meter relay team finished 12th in the State of Michigan. As we drove back from the state final, the anchor on our relay, commented: “Next year we could be the fastest 3,200 relay but Ron will be past the age requirement!”

I heard God speak to my heart, “I will make a way for you.”I said, “God will provide a way for me to compete.”

Later that Spring, my parents and I reached a roadblock beyond our control. I was past the MHSAA age requirement because I had repeated kindergarten due to autism and learning disabilities. In May of 1994, as my senior year approached, my mom contacted the MHSAA and they stated, “Due to your son being past the age requirement we will not allow him to compete!”

As the cross-country season drew near the circumstances seemed hopeless. My mom told me, “There’s nothing we can do now but pray.” In June 1994, I returned from a five-mile run and grabbed the Detroit Free Press. I saw on the front page an article about another athlete past the age requirement. Our situations were remarkably similar. We both were born in May 1975, each of us repeated early elementary grades, we were both cross-country and track runners. My Mom immediately contacted his family and we joined forces in prayer.

When I got home and checked the red flashing answering machine, I had an unexpected message from an attorney stating, “I believe your case will set precedent for the American Disabilities Act and I want to represent you pro bono.”

I heard God speak to my heart, “I will make a way for you.”I said, “God will provide a way for me to compete.”

Just six hours before my first cross-country meet on August 25, 1994, U.S. District Court Judge Feikens granted a temporary restraining order to allow us to participate in cross-country and track. Twenty days later, Judge Feikens instated a permanent injunction allowing us to compete for the rest of the season.

Our 3,200 relay team set the school record and ran the second fastest time in the state. During this season, I felt a call to be a minister. Michigan Christian College, now Rochester College, gave me an athletic scholarship for cross-country and track. I finished my freshman year making the Dean’s List and received an academic scholarship to Oral Roberts University. Six years later, I graduated with a Master of Divinity with highest honors.

After I rededicated my life to following Christ, I felt a desire to be baptized to demonstrate my commitment. On Sunday, June 10, 1994, I was baptized by Pastor Rob. As Pastor Rob lifted me from the water, he said, “I feel this verse is for you. Joel 2:25, “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten- the great locust and young locust, the other locust and the locust swarm—my great army that I sent among you. Your blessings will begin today.'”

On April 5, 2016, Charisma House, a national publisher, published my book A Parent’s Guide to Autism: Practical Advice. Biblical Wisdom. In writing the book, I interviewed over 40 experts in the autism community and over 40 parents who have a child with autism. My second book just came out Thought, Choice, Action, Decision-making that Releases the Holy Spirit’s Power.

I have founded a non-profit Spectrum Inclusion which creates autism awareness in churches and schools. I speak at over 70 events a year including 20 plus churches. I am living my dream working as a professor of theology and in the medical field and married to a beautiful wife and have a three-year-old daughter, Makayla.

Ron Sandison works full time in the medical field and is a professor of theology at Destiny School of Ministry. He is an advisory board member of Autism Society Faith Initiative of Autism Society of American. Sandison has a
Master of Divinity from Oral Roberts University and is the author of A Parents Guide to Autism: Practical Advice. Biblical Wisdom published by Charisma House and Thought, Choice, Action. He has memorized over 10,000Scriptures including 22 complete books of the New Testament and over 5,000 quotes. Ron frequently guest speaks at colleges, conferences, autism centers, and churches. Ron and his wife, Kristen, reside in Rochester Hills, MI, with a baby daughter, Makayla Marie born on March 20, 2016. You can contact Ron
at his website http://www.spectruminclusion.com or email him at sandison456@hotmail.com

Ron speaking to 1,400 people on autism & faith at Shepherd’s Gate Church:

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