We support GenertationRescue in their efforts to help people and families cope day-to-day with the challenges of an autism diagnosis.
Our son Conner was given an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis in 2006. This was not the first time we realized he was not a typical boy, this was just when we received a medical diagnosis from a neurologist. PDD-NOS or Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified. This is a fancy name for autism...but we don't know what kind. As parents, I think we knew in the back of our minds that our boy was different, we were reluctant to try to quantify that oddity. A diagnosis makes something very real. It was Angie's father that insisted finally that something was wrong and that we needed to find out what is was. I cannot count how many meetings we have had with educators and school administrators who assured us that nothing was really wrong-something was. Our smart, funny, handsome boy had stopped spontaneously talking after a round of immunizations around the age of 2. He started speaking only when he was repeating something we said. That was how we knew he meant "yes". If he didn't respond at all, we took that as a "no". We could not seem to get him interested in food and he NEVER asked for it but rather waited to have it offered to him. He seemed oblivious to people who were around him and in fact, didn't seem to notice when we left. Once his brother and I left him in an aisle in Target and went around the corner to watch him and see when he noticed our absence. He never did. Nothing seemed to make him particularly happy or upset him although he would have meltdowns about things that we didn't even notice. Somtimes just crossing the threshold into a grocery store or other building would send him into non-verbal screaming fits. At the time we didn't know what was setting him off.
Flash forward to 2006. We finally agreed that something was very wrong. We didn't sleep through the night for months. We scoured the internet for any information that could give us some understanding so that we could help our boy. In my dispair, Angie encouraged me and when that failed, yelled and cried until I realized we were his only hope. You see, at the time there was very little real information about autism on the internet beyond facts and figures. Nothing that could give us a hint where to turn to find out how to help our boy.
In subsequent years we were blessed to find some extremely helpful people through Judevine as well as some therapists and innnovative, caring people who steered us toward resources that enabled us and gave us tools that gave us our son back. Not the least of these was the Generation Rescue website which provided us with some pivotal information about nutrition and immunization schedules that helped us as well as our friends.
Our bright and wonderful boy has come so far and works so very, very hard to fit in. Angie and I struggle to keep up with him. He is 10 years old now, loves football and The Avengers and other things young men enjoy and it is quite a task to keep up with all the changes in his life. God has blessed our family and our boy is on a path to a great life. I know he will face challenges that Angie and I cannot help him with but isn't that true of every kid? Our boy will always be different, but he will thrive! We want to do what we can to share this kind of hope with those who maybe don't have the resources, people, and support we have found that ultimately returned our son to us. That's why we are here today, please give what you can to Generation Rescue, or failing that, pray for this organization which could be the difference for a person with an ASD. Early intervention is key, you can make a difference!