Celebrating Autism Awareness Month

by | Apr 13, 2023 | Blog

Susanah and Tucker, A Mother-Son Duo

In 2016, Susannah Ashcroft drove home from an appointment at St. David’s Center for Child and Family Development knowing that her life would be drastically different from when she walked through the doors earlier that day. The appointment was for her son, Tucker, who had been showing signs of speech delay and repetitive motions. As a concerned mom, Susannah began doing research to better understand and support her son. That day, she finally got an answer: Tucker was officially diagnosed with autism.

When asked about how she first began processing the diagnosis, Susannah went on to say, “As I left, I kept having to tell myself: you are taking the same kid home from this appointment than when you came, there is just a different layer to his life now… and now we know what it is and what we can do to work through this.”

Pictured: Susannah and tucker in Grand Marias, MN

Striking A Balance

Prior to joining our team in January 2022, Susannah spent her career working for a large financial company. While she felt their policies allowed her some flexibility to be a present special needs mom, she felt like there was something missing. That’s when she stepped into the MedTech industry. She describes this switch by saying, “I love the industry I work in now because it’s always focused on the betterment of medicine and helping others; making a difference in people’s lives. Advocating for better healthcare is such a major part of my life with [Tucker], and I can now support that in my work life as well which is incredible.”

Being a part of an industry that puts people first Is invaluable for a mom like Susannah who goes above and beyond to make sure Tucker has the resources he needs to thrive. Appointments and therapy sessions for Tucker are important opportunities; and with her supportive teammates, striking a balance between being a supportive parent and an impactful co-worker is that much easier. “At Veranex, I really appreciate having the trust where people know that I am going to do my work and do it well, but I need to make adjustments for my family. You just know that the people here get it.”

Pictured: Susannah and Tucker at autism therapy, learning to play

All About Tucker

People who have not had the privilege of knowing someone with autism might have questions, and Susannah wants people to know that asking questions, being aware, and seeking opportunities to educate yourself is not something to be afraid of. She went on to explain her passion for sharing Tucker’s story by saying, “I heard this quote one time that has always stuck with me. It said: If you meet someone with autism, you’ve met one person with autism… Everyone on the spectrum is so different, and they have different strengths and hurdles. I wish people would ask me more questions, because sometimes I think they hear that I have a son with autism, and they automatically make assumptions. But I wish people would get to know him more as a person and find out his interests… just know that he is an individual.”

So, without further ado, here’s a bit more about the incredible Tucker: he’s an affectionate and caring person who loves reading graphic novels and drawing comics; he is obsessed with marine life and can name every shark in the big blue sea; he has a one-of-a-kind taste for gold fish crackers and would live off of them if his mom let him; he named the family pup Millhouse “Danger Shark” (Millie for short) and calls her “his greatest friend”; he’s an outstanding big brother to his little brother Cameron; and he brings so much laughter to those around him that his family has begun capturing the Tucker Quote Of The Day!

A ‘Tucker Original’ Comic Sketch

Tucker with Millie

Tucker and his little brother Cameron


When sharing her final thoughts, Susannah said that above all else she wants people to know, “The things that make Tucker different are the best parts of him. If I could change things tomorrow, I wouldn’t.”

Pictured: Susannah and Tucker at a Minnesota Twins game