My Pledge for Autism

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.

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13 thoughts on “My Pledge for Autism

  1. OK..so I had Landon in Bible School and sunday service for the last couple of years and never knew so he must be making real strides!!!My grandson has been diagnosed also but is so “normal” you would never know…other than he is full of the dickens..but most boys are…keep up the good work..and I am enjoying the book btw!

    1. Thanks Sue. That just shows how beneficial therapy is to children. My son has come a long way over the last four years and I am very proud of his accomplishments.

  2. I love this idea – I’ll share your link too. This cause is also near and dear to my heart. My 7 year old, Bobby, was diagnosed PDD-NOS as well. He has some other issues too, so he’s been in therapy since he was 9 months old. He’s now in a private special needs school is has come so far. Really though – such a great idea, and IPADS are so great for special needs kids.

    1. Thanks for the share, Heather. I know our family could have greatly benefited from an iPad when we were struggling through that first year of nonverbal issues. Even now, his therapists use iPads a great deal in his therapies. I think they are a wonderful tool!

      I am just thankful that I have been afforded the opportunity to give back. I have plans to continue with these types of donations with each book that I publish but I had to start with Autism for my son 🙂

  3. My youngest son has PDD-NOS as well and while I sit here and read what you had to say I cried. I could have written that. The worry and the hurt you feel when raising an autistic child is something that only we understand. I would like to sit down with you all and bring Bryson around and see what we can learn together. It is a definite growing process with daily new challenges!
    I have applied for grants for an Ipad for Bryson. Last year in Brysons first year in Kindergarten (repeating it this year) he had the oppurtunity to work on the Ipad and the things he can do on there and not on paper is amazing.
    I will continue to share your site.:)

    1. Sarah,
      Pass over the tissues, cause I’m all teary now too 🙂

      Writing this blog post was the hardest thing I have ever written. It is so easy to get caught up in daily life and forget how far we have come. The fear has lessened. The confidence has increased. But the struggles continue.

      Although our son has improved greatly, he still has struggles. The hardest part for me, as a parent, is to watch my son interact with other children. He doesn’t speak as clearly as they do, he doesn’t always comprehend as quickly as they do, and sometimes he simply doesn’t understand.

      I think in some ways, that is a blessing.

      We begin Kindergarten this year and I am excited about what awaits him. He is one of 12 children in his class, at a small private school, and I feel he will do well there. The upside is that I am able to be as active in the school as I want to be, so I can be there if he needs me. I don’t want to overshadow him, but I want him to feel that school can be a safe place as well.

      Unless you have a child who is autistic, you can’t really understand. I guess that is the same with any thing though. The difference between empathy and sympathy.

      I feel your pain, Sarah. And thank you for sharing in my dream. I am just grateful that I have an opportunity to give back.

      Let me know how you do with the grant money for Bryson 🙂

  4. Amy,

    I am a advocate for individuals and families of children/adults on the Spectrum I have read your blog, and of course your books, which is what brought me to your site. My company is called, Casper Minds LLC, my website is casperminds.com and my email is angela@casperminds.com.

    I had been a teacher of children with special needs for the past 12 years, however, my heart belongs to the kiddos on the spectrum. I opened a high school in 2004 and opened the class for high schools students on the spectrum. The class got so big, that the next year we had to hire another teacher and open another class.

    I quit teaching in the public schools in 2011, I left teaching to open my own company, Casper Minds. I provide social skills groups, academic tutoring, parent support groups, and educational advocacy support.

    I would love to hear from you. I know I can help support you and those lives you touch.

    Regards,
    Angela Kralik

    1. Hi Angela!
      Wow, thank you so much for sharing your passion with me 🙂 I am thrilled to hear that you have made this leap into an area that requires a special kind of person. No doubt, you are doing exactly what you were intended for and I love to hear it! We need more teachers just like you 🙂
      I would love to hear more about you and what you do. Please send me an email at AmyLMiles@live.com and add a website for your school if you have one. I am close to raising that 5th iPad now so I will be looking for new ways to help the Autism cause 🙂

  5. Amy, I can so identify with your post! I just posted on my blog about autism/Aspergers although in regards to writers which I thought was interesting. I LOVE that you are doing this!! I can’t wait to get your book and help support this awesome endeavor. Three of my six children are on the autism spectrum and I completely understand the fear and the worry and the many accomplishments along the way. On those nights when you were crying, I was over here doing the same!! Hugs to you, Mama!!!

    1. Isn’t it wonderful to have such a vast support group through the internet of moms and dads who understand exactly what you have gone through? Autism is very dear to my heart and I look forward to doing everything I possibly can to help make other children’s lives better as a result of partnering with my fans 🙂
      On Nov 8th, my son will be handing out the 5 iPads to the families. I know it will be a tear filled moment and I will post pics 🙂

      1. That’s wonderful! I can’t wait to see the pictures!! What a wonderful experience that will be for all of you! :] Have you ever read a book called, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night?” It is a literary fiction novel written by Mark Haddon from the POV of a 15 year old boy with autism and it is fascinating. It made me laugh and cry like any mother of an autistic child would. So worth the read if you get a chance!

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