Major Alva’s Story - Autism Research

Female U.S. Air Force Major smiling.

My cause is autism research. My personal journey into the world of autism began at age 9 when my adopted brother (Harris) joined our family. Female U.S. Air Force Major smiling

My parents told me that Harris could not talk. He looked like us, but he didn’t sound like us. I remember going to restaurants and watching the waitress ask for his order or him laughing hysterically in the grocery store for no apparent reason. Harris was always so organized; he would line up his toys and everything in his room had to be in its proper place. My grandmother would say “Harris is a creature of habit.” Harris never broke routine day after day, year after year.

As he got older, he learned the importance of eye contact and a firm handshake. Even now, when Harris walks into a room, he will greet everyone, sometimes even a stranger. Harris reminds all of us that people living with Autism are not invisible. My four-year-old says it best “Uncle Harris doesn’t talk because he has a different language, it’s not the same as ours.” I hope that the CFC is an opportunity to learn this new “language” and unlock mysteries in the world of autism through research.

Maj Lenora Alva, U.S. Air Force