Name: Theresa Spencer
Husband: Daniel Peterson
Town: Hilton Head Island
Children: Daniel and Lucas Peterson, 3
Occupation: Stay-at-home mom who helps her husband with his contracting business. She also makes candles, melting tarts and hand soaps for sale. Some of the profits of those items go to local autism foundations.
Go-to snack: The kids' favorite "candy bars," which are actually cereal bars with fruit.
Product you can't live without: Coffee, coffee and more coffee
Favorite book: Pretty much anything written by Mark Twain or Stephen King
Favorite holiday tradition: Cooking and spending time with family
Favorite mommy moment: When we were able to finally bring the boys home from the neonatal intensive care unit at the Medical University of South Carolina
Most challenging moment: Meltdowns and sensory overloads
Advice for other moms dealing with autism: Always remember that your child having autism is not your fault; it's no one's fault. Just breathe, try to take time for yourself, and no matter what, you are their mother, no one else. Never be afraid to speak your mind, and always hold your ground.
What's the one thing that's OK to let go: Other people's ignorance. You'll come across it more than you can count. Just take a deep breath, smile, and most times it's just best to walk away.
What does parenting autistic children involve? We have gone with therapies ever since the boys were just infants. We currently have therapies four times a week. They also get therapies at their preschool. We now are going through the process of getting Lucas tested for possible seizures. Most times autism includes doctors, specialists, therapists, evaluations, tests and patience. LOTS of patience.
Follow Amy Coyne Bredeson at twitter.com/IPBG_Amy.