KENT COUNTY, Mich. — This Autism Awareness Month, Nate Walworth is getting candid about what it's like to parent a child with autism.
Walworth is a pastor and father of 10-year-old Nate Jr., or "Bubba," as he is fondly called.
"We first came to realize about him being on the spectrum when he was about three," Walworth told FOX 17 News. "For about seven years we've been on this journey."
Walworth turned to social media about a year after the diagnosis, sharing the good and bad days, and often interjecting humor in his posts to highlight the struggles.
"You know, therapeutic on my end a little bit to start out with, not knowing what I was dealing with," he explained. "Once we started, that's when we realized that it was starting to resonate with some people...for some, they find it a little bit humorous; other people are dealing with the struggles."
Recent posts have detailed what happened when Bubba left his Sunday school class to interrupt Walworth's sermon, and unknowingly "mooning" patrons at a local restaurant after going to the bathroom.
"We deal with so much to be honest with you, throughout the week, whenever we go somewhere," he said. "Every day is an adventure so to speak. We set short-term goals, not long-term goals, and it's every day; just trying to get through the day is the main goal."
Walworth is now using his story and experiences to reach out and help others in his shoes. In late February, he launched the Walworth Foundation to enlighten, educate and advocate for families with special needs.
As part of the foundation, Walworth plans to continue sharing his adventures with Bubba in "Blessings with Bub".
"Blessings with Bub is the auxiliary of our foundation, where people kind of see into our life on a personal level and get to know us in that regard," Walworth explained. "We find gifts where other people wouldn't, and I think maybe we appreciate a lot more than what people take for granted."
The goal is to eventually offer classes, support groups and other programs to help other families know they are not alone.
"I don't just want to share; I want to learn and invite other people in, where we can grow from, and they can share journeys they've gone through," he said. "My hope is that we are able to reach and help as many people as possible, even if there was just one family's life that was forever changed, we truly believe that it would be worth it."