Autism affects 1 in 88 children. 1 in 54 boys. My son is among them.
When my son was born, nearly six years ago, he was a bubbly bouncing baby. He still is, just without the baby part haha. We started to notice something was a bit off around 18 months. His speech was not developing like it should have been. Thanks to some caring therapists, through the early intervention program, my son was tested for Autism. He was diagnosed with PDD-NOS when he was two years old.
Many people have claimed that this is a mild form of autism. Perhaps, in comparison to Aspergers syndrome, it is. But for my son, it came with its own challenges.
I remember the panic my husband and I felt when our son was diagnosed. The feelings of wondering how we would cope when we didn’t really understand how to help him. There were countless times when I just wanted to cry because we didn’t know if we were helping or hurting. But my husband and I were not alone. A local autism foundation came along side us and helped us to understand my son’s diagnosis. Therapists trained us in how to teach him to speak, to stick his hands in play dough and deal with behavioral issues that arose because of the autism.
His speech was greatly delayed, impaired by his inability to comprehend questions as you or I. I didn’t get to hear the word “Mommy” until after he was two years old. But, through therapy and wonderful teachers, my son has grown leaps and bounds. We have completely adjusted our lifestyle to fit his needs. We learned to count down to the completion of an activity, keep a fairly regular schedule in our home and also have a safe place for him to come down from a sensory overload. We have learned to avoid automatic flushing toilets, obnoxious/terrifying hand dryers, sirens and fireworks. Loud, crowded events are a no-go for our family. But, I am happy with that.
My son is one of the happiest children I know. His speech has improved so much that most people wouldn’t even know that he struggled with an impairment. But during the time that communication was a battle for us, I would have given anything for a way to understand my son’s desires.
That is why, because I have been so richly blessed through my books sales over the past couple of months, I am pledging $0.50 per book sold of RECKONING, the sequel to FORBIDDEN, with a goal to raise $2500 to buy 5 iPads for children with speech delays through an Autism foundation. My husband and I are currently searching for the right foundation to partner with.
I hope that you will join me in our quest to help change the lives of 5 families. Autism affects more and more families each year. I want to do my part to give back.