"No more diapers!"
"Consistency and Routine"
"The Highs and Lows"
"How Autism gave me strength"
"The day I realized my son had Autism"
"My child, the artist"
"No more diapers!"This is a picture of my son. He turned 8 last year. He is non-verbal and as you can see, constantly on the move, and all of his life, my husband and I have been constantly buying diapers! I made a secret vow at his birthday party that by his 9th birthday he would be completely potty trained. He learned to pee in the potty two years ago, but no matter how long we sat him on the potty he just would not poop in it. Finally, this year after trial and error and lots of kicking and screaming, I can officially say: No more diapers or pull-ups; my son is officially potty trained! #pottywars #autismmilestones #autismmomandproud Thank you for allowing me to share an upside of my autism mom journey. Konnie Peroune
"Consistency and Routine"He is now 14 and the adolescence has kicked in but not bad but we have moments. When we tell him no he cries and has some tantrums. He cries, goes to his room and you will hear him stomping or some kind of commotion. Of course, I go to him and explain to him why he can't have something. For instance, he loves sweet tea and double cheeseburgers from McDonald's and will continue to eat and drink even when we know that he is full. He doesn't want to accept no for an answer. We discipline him in spite of his disabilities. Like I say it's not really bad but it's just that moment and I use to give in to him but his older brother(22) had to talk with me and tell me to stop giving in because that was not good. When his older brother tells him no and to stop the tantrums he immediately stops. So I do the same now with a different tone and he has gotten better. The consistency and routine and every one on the same page are very important. I just love our support system and I love my Zay. Eugenia Lewis
"Keep Pressing"I was so excited when I learned that I was going to become a mother. Spencer was my miracle child, finally, after being told I would never have children. I was happy and excited. I saw some early signs- but I thought it wasn’t anything major! Besides, “boys take longer to mature!” Delayed speech and some other concerns from His Infant Toddler Program led to Early Intervention. He was in speech and OT. Slowly, but surely, he began speaking around age 3. During Pre-k, he was tested and at that time , they said that their was evidence of Autism. Fast forward, at age 6, we visit my parents for the summer in another state! Issues beyond my control caused us to remain. ( My parents passed, unexpectly, the same week). My son started a new school and they did a battery of test. He was refered to a specialist. Three months later, Spencer was diagnosed with ASD PDD-NOS! I didn’t want to believe. I was so hurt! My parents death and now an official diagnosis- all within 5 months. That was 2 years ago and each day we “Keep Pressing, Even Now God is Able!”! My faith is strong and Spencer is the greatest joy in my life. I don’t cry as often! patience I’ve learned. Some days are hard- but they are not as bad as they used to be! We take each day as it comes.
"The Highs and Lows"Life with Elijah has certainly had its soaring highs and dark lows, but we as a family love Elijah with all our hearts through it all. In the past month, we all have experienced both sides of these emotions, especially after his older brother, Isaiah, went on a three-week trip to Texas. As a test trial, Elijah and Isaiah video chatted for the first time a few days before the trip began, and that day was one of the dark lows. Toys, remotes, and phones flew across the room, and in the center of this household item typhoon was Elijah; he blew through the house and left tears and trashed tables in his wake. When Isaiah left, Elijah turned into a melancholic spirit who wandered the house like he lost his best friend. He ate less, he slept less, and absolutely refused to enter Isaiah’s room as if it was a holy shrine. As the weeks progressed, Isaiah tried to video chat a few times, and each time Elijah started to take to it. No more screams and flying toys, he just played hide and seek with the camera. His progress with his separation anxiety wasn’t the only thing that moved forward, Elijah also started to find out how to use his voice. It started with colors and shapes, and it moved to trucks and names. When Isaiah came back, Elijah was leaps and bounds past where he was when Isaiah had left. The first time Elijah saw Isaiah again, it was one of his soaring highs. He smiled so brightly and began to list all the new words he knew on the way back home. That night we were reminded that all the dark moments that he will have will part for the bright ones.
"Our Firsts"The pictures I chose are firsts. First, let me tell you about us. We got our diagnosis when William was 8 and we hear the words 'late diagnosis' a lot. William is labeled Asperger Syndrome. He definitely struggles with communication(stuttering) and socialization(tends to choose isolation). The picture of 'us' was our first date. He held the door open and even ordered for me. The picture of the box was the first 'Mother's Day' school project he completed, he was in 5th grade. The picture of him with his classmate: he successfully auditioned for(and got) the lead of Aladdin in the 5th grade school play. We encourage our son to view his diagnosis as a character trait and not a flaw.
"How Autism gave me strength"My name is De Anna and I am the mother of a loving, handsome, curious non-verbal five-year-old boy named Jaxen. Jaxen was officially diagnosed with autism at age 3. From that time, I’ve had to fight for him. My greatest victory was going up against the board of Ed to get him into the school he’s in now. Jaxen doesn’t have meltdowns or the behavioral issues that are sometimes associated with autism, so they tried to stick him anywhere. They wanted me to accept the school that was offered which was awful and not properly equipped for children on the spectrum. They told me that was our only option, and that was his school. I obtained a pro-bono attorney and fought back. It took a few months, but we got what we wanted. Today Jaxen is in one of the best D75 schools in the Bronx. He is thriving and learning every day. Having a child with autism brought out my inner strength. My ability to stand up about and for my child. It happens sometimes, and I don’t realize it until after the fact. This journey will expose things about yourself you never knew. I knew I was a strong woman, but this strength that Jaxen has brought out is truly amazing.
"The day I realized my son had Autism"I remember the day my husband & I first saw the signs of Autism in our youngest son Isaiah. I remember it so clearly like it was yesterday. Isaiah was about 2 years old & we were at a local park for a family outing. The weather was beautiful.. the perfect day for outdoor play. After playing on the swings & slides Isaiah found what looked like a pretend steering wheel. I noticed him playing with it, moving it from side to side & then it happened! I saw him begin to look at the wheel intensely through the corner of his eyes, then he started pacing back & forth in front of it & flapping his hands. I went over to him & just sat in the sand & watched him. I didn’t say anything, just watched. It was like I was frozen. Then my husband noticed & we both just watched for a little while. We eventually left the park & our ride home was silent. I cried a little because I knew in that moment without a doubt that Isaiah had Autism. You see my older son (who was 7 at the time) also has Autism so my husband & I knew the signs. Along with our pediatrician we were watching Isaiah closely (from birth) & though he didn’t have much language yet we had not seen any of the repetitive behaviors or stimming like in my older son. And that gave me hope! Looking back maybe I was in denial (again). A few days after our visit to the park I gave our pediatrician a call & let her know what we observed. She had us come in for an appointment & after lots of discussion & observing she confirmed that Isaiah had Autism too. We were given another referral for the Regional Center. I didn’t cry in the office this time like I had when my older son was diagnosed, instead I was just numb. In the days & weeks that followed I became very depressed. The strange thing is though I was depressed & battling anxiety too I advocated for my boys. I went to work for Isaiah just like I had for my older son. Autism became my life – I went to every class/workshop in my area, networked with parents who were like me, participated in the Autism Walk & most importantly I stood up for my boy's educational rights during IEP meetings. But I was so sad on the inside, crying just about every day, & asking God why me? I stopped doing the things I enjoyed, I was terrible at self-care & I became distant with close friends. Then one day I had a pretty bad emotional break-down. I realized in that moment that I was tired of the anxiety.. tired of feeling depressed.. tired of holding everything in. I needed help & I needed to take care of ME. I found a wonderful therapist who helped me through that difficult time. And a good friend who encouraged me to pray & work on my relationship with God. I’m in a much better place today! Several years have passed since my boys were first diagnosed. Yes, I still have difficult days, I don’t think that will ever change, BUT I don’t get stuck there! That’s the key! I created a great support system in family & close friends. And I don’t feel guilty any more when I need some “me time”. I accepted this was my path.. our path & I embrace it!
"My child, the artist"My life was totally changed by the entrance of a little girl on June 13, 2011. Amoree Rayne is all I could ever dream of and then some. Our hopes and dreams have changed over the past six years but, we still hope and dream, none the less. Sometimes our hopes come crashing down on us like a freight train and make us regroup. This is one of those times. Autism! Epilepsy! And NONVERBAL!!! God, what else can You throw at me? My child became an artist early in her Autism life… an artist who painted with Poop instead of paint. I have never cried so hard as I did when my daughter was at the beauty shop and had a poop incident. She painted the salon floor, walls, seats and herself with poop. The beautician called me and said that she needed an extra set of clothes for Amoree because she had to change her. Can you spell… D E V A S T A T E D?!!! I gathered cleaning supplies and clothing and headed to the beauty shop… I made it there and Amoree was sitting in a chair completely clean with clothes on and there was nothing for me to clean up… They had done it all. I tried to apologize to the owner and she told me… We all have children... We all had different abilities in our children and we all have cleaned up poop... I didn’t ask you for cleaning supplies... I asked you for clothes. Go home… Amoree is fine and so are you. With tears rolling down my face, I left that shop that day knowing that I was not alone on this journey and that God would put people in my life to help me make it day by day. Delasber Sanders