When Shawn Stockman and his wife, Sharhonda, first learned Micah, one of their fraternal twin boys, was autistic at age 2, Shawn’s first response was denial. “I didn’t want to think that something as severe as this had happened to my own kid,” says the singer from the Grammy Award-winning group Boyz II Men who’s a judge on TV’s The Sing-Off. “It was a devastating blow to have this happen to my son. He’s my oldest by two minutes; my heir apparent. I would cry occasionally; I kept it moving because I had to be strong for my family.”
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) “is a range of complex neurodevelopment disorders characterized by social impairments, communication difficulties, and restricted, repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior,” according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Autism is the fastest-growing yet most underfunded developmental disorder, according to the National Autism Association; and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that boys are four times more likely than girls to have ASD, which affects one in 68 children. Some signs might include the child not responding to his or her name, not babbling or pointing by age 1, not making eye contact, excessive lining up toys or other objects, losing language and social skills and failing to smile or show social responsiveness.
Read more in the June 2014 issue of EBONY Magazine.