Posts Tagged ‘Sally Pederson’

One Family’s Travails and Triumphs With Autism

June 23, 2009

James Autry and Sally Pederson

James Autry
and his wife, Sally Pederson, graciously shared the story of how their autistic son changed their life in my book, Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything.

Autry, the author of ten books, had a distinguished career at Meredith Corporation where he was senior vice president of its Magazine Group. Pederson is the former Lieutenant Governor of Iowa.

Here are some moving excerpts from their story. Autry’s quotes are in regular type. Pederson’s quotes are in italics.

Sally and I were married in 1982. Three years later, when our son Ronald was two years old, we knew something was terribly wrong. His subsequent diagnosis of autism, and my response to that diagnosis, changed everything in my life. Not only did it accelerate my process of awareness and consciousness, it profoundly changed my priorities. I was a highly paid senior corporate executive at Meredith Corp. and even had thoughts about becoming CEO some day. Instead, as I watched Ronald’s struggle to find his place in the world, I realized that I couldn’t do this anymore. I couldn’t keep traveling twenty-two weeks a year. Sally and I sat down and agreed that as soon as we had saved enough that we could get by financially, I would take early retirement.

We came to terms with the immediate reality of Ron’s autism by simply (more…)