What do you do when life starts to go in a direction that is different from what you envisioned? Your response can make all the difference!
I started my career with so many ideas about climbing the ladder of success in the field of public health. I worked hard to gain experience, while working in a variety of public health settings. In 2005, I continued to build up my credentials by becoming a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES). With my master’s degree in public health and CHES certification, everything was lining up beautifully. Then a curve ball came my way.
My husband and I have two sons with autism. Our oldest son was officially diagnosed with autism in 2011. Our youngest son was diagnosed in 2016. As a result, I had to start thinking outside of the box in regards to my public health career. The typical jobs that I had before were no longer a good fit for our family. My focus is now on our boys.
And guess what? There’s never a dull moment with them! They are handsome, smart, funny and full of personality. Yes, there are some challenges at times, but we love them through it and learn more in the process about how we can become better parents for them.
Our personal life experiences led to the creation of the Autism Awareness Month Faith Based Initiative. So far, the initiative has served 23 churches, with over 5500 people learning about autism! I feel blessed that I have been able to create awareness and more inclusive environments for persons with autism and their families. With my public health degree and experience, I have high hopes to do even more! I recently received my Certification in Digital Health Communication and I can’t wait to utilize some of the skills that I learned. The best is yet to come!
My public health career hasn’t turned out the way I expected, but I certainly feel a great sense of satisfaction and purpose in the work that I am doing now! If you are interested in joining the Autism Awareness Month Faith Based Initiative, please click here.
Be blessed and thanks for visiting!
Tonya Nash, MPH, CHES