When you first undergo the shock of the newest word to your vocabulary…. “Autism” you go through a roller coaster of emotions. I remember reaching out to friends and family, all of whom were as clueless as I was, but still secretly hoping they would be by my side as I started this incredible journey.
The tiny, blond, blue-eyed boy was covered in love as thick as his favorite blanket from the day he was born. Everyone adored him and, in truth, he adored everyone back. People would walk into a room and smile when they saw the small boy and he would look up at them through his child eyes and smile just as warmly back. That heart-warming grin was plastered across his face every waking second of the day.
They sat at the kitchen table – mother and stepfather on one side, 13-year-old daughter on the other. Silence suffocated the room as the girl wondered what she had done to prompt so stern a look on her parents’ faces. Her mother sat, her soft hands together resting on the table as she watched her daughter carefully.
On May 6, 2002, Zachary was born and I held my son for the first time. He filled me with so much joy, I couldn’t stop laughing. I remember staying up all night, admiring his perfect little hands, his sweet face and his endearing infant murmurings. This little guy, not even a few hours old, […]
As you probably know, I am challenged by a hidden disability called Autism or what some people refer to a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). Autism/PDD is a neurodevelopmental disorder, which makes it hard for me to understand the environment around me. I have barriers in my brain that you can’t see but which make it difficult for me to adapt to my surroundings.
When my mother told me that I was finally going to have a little brother, my heart immediately burst with joy. I began to daydream about all the things I could teach him, all the knowledge and joy I could share, and all the noogies I could so lovingly pass on.
We didn’t expect our pediatrician to tell us she thought our infant son’s problems were signs of autism. But we are glad she did: in that moment she added precious months – maybe years – to his intervention.
My daughter, Dana, is my 17-year-old Autistic child. She is my inspiration to appreciate and stay focused on the true blessings of our great world.
On March 21, 2002 my dreams to be a mother became fulfilled. I gave birth to a beautiful boy and we named him Akshay, in Sanskrit it means “everlasting.” I remember calling his name right after delivery and watching his little cap covered head flop towards me, hearing the sound of my voice. It was the best moment ever!
I had Christian when I was 19 years old. For the first year of his life I couldn’t imagine anything being wrong with my baby. He smiled; he laughed; he rolled, crawled and walked on time. At age one he had a massive overload for his little immune system. He had two ear infections, a high fever, back-to-back treatment of major antibiotics and he was given his MMR, varicella and HIB vaccines while he was still very sick. Christian faded away for the next six months.
“I need you to go to this meeting about how to deal with school districts.” “There will be lawyers there that you can talk to, and other parents, and advocates, and no school people and…..” “Okay, okay” I finally blurted out, where is it? “It is at TACA” my wife explained. “TACO, what the heck is TACO?” My wife sternly corrected me, “It’s called Talk About Curing Autism, T-A-C-A! and you are going.”
We were also truly blessed in being referred to Lisa Ackerman and TACA within a week of hearing that our son may have autism. Although our now 8-year-old son is not recovered (yet), he attends a regular education elementary school, gets straight As, adores his little sister and plays the piano beautifully. I am deeply thankful to TACA for so many of these miracles.
When Woody was diagnosed with autism at age 2, I went into a mad dash for services and interventions. I heard that some mythical window closes at age 5; the once-elastic brain becomes concrete, impenetrable. Age 5 passed, then 7, then 10.