Sunday, November 3, 2013

ABA, IEP's, and Reading, Oh, My!

I must apologize for taking so much time off and shirking my blogging duties. The truth is that after my dad passed away, I just needed some time. I needed to put my focus on other things. But I know he would be proud of what I’m doing here, sharing Ethan’s struggles and triumphs with people, so I feel that now is a good time to continue what I started so many months ago.

First, let me start off by saying that we are still waiting for ABA therapy to begin. We should have heard something weeks ago, and so far all I’ve received in the mail has been two packets of papers, both copies of forms that I signed during the initial evaluation. Frustrating? Yeah, you could say that. I keep meaning to call the service we’re contracted through, First Solutions (via Easter Seals), but it’s been difficult to find the time to sit and rant at someone on the phone, as I’m sure is bound to (have to) happen.

Secondly, I had Ethan’s annual IEP meeting with his teachers last week, and I am happy to report that they had nothing but good things to say! They went on and on about how smart Ethan is, how his memory is just phenomenal, and how he’s already recognizing his own name when it’s written, as well as his classmates’ names! He knows all his letters, upper and lower case, knows all his shapes and colors, and is even working on telling time using an analog clock. He has friends, is very compassionate and caring with them, interacts with them during recess and on the bus, and he even talks about them at home! He has also made so much progress since starting school in January that his speech therapy requirement was lowered. The staff told me that it’s always a good thing when you see “the number of minutes go down instead of up.” That means we’re moving in the right direction, so I’m absolutely thrilled that Ethan is loving school, making strides, and is surrounded by great teachers and therapists to help him get where he needs to be. We also discussed his transition to kindergarten, because even though it’s early to be talking about that yet, I wanted to make sure we were on the same page, and I was interested to see where they were thinking of placing Ethan; I was told that while it will be determined for sure in April or May, for now they see absolutely no reason why he won’t be able to function perfectly well in a general ed. kindergarten class. This, I was surprised to hear – I knew that the two schools we’ve been working with (the one we’re at now and the one Ethan will hopefully attend for kindergarten and up through elementary school) were all about inclusion and mainstreaming; I just wasn’t expecting it so soon! But, like I said, we will find out for sure at the end of the school year where the best place for Ethan will be. All that matters to me is that he thrives and does well, whether that be in an inclusion class, a special needs class, or a general ed. class. As long as he’s happy, I’ll be happy!

Lastly, I thought it might be fun for you all to see this little video of Ethan “reading” a book at bedtime. This serves as a testimony to his “phenomenal memory,” because at the time this video was taken, I had read this book to Ethan once. One time only. But this is also how far he’s come in just under a year; before school, this child didn’t care to be read to, wanted nothing to do with books unless it was to stack them as high as he could, or tear them to shreds out of frustration. Now they are among his most prized possessions, and he actually thoroughly enjoys being read to. As avid readers and bibliophiles ourselves, my husband and I couldn’t be happier or more proud of Ethan.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

In Memoriam

It’s never an easy thing to lose family. Being the parent of a special needs child, the people who are (or should be) your greatest support system are the ones you cling to when it all becomes too much. When you are overwhelmed and you need someone to talk to or rely on (besides your spouse, I mean, because they need a break just as much as you do), your family should be there for you.

For me, my parents are those people. When I need somewhere to turn besides my husband (because we talk about Ethan until we’re blue in the face sometimes), my parents are the people I go to. My dad was always there to calm me down when he could see that I was at my breaking point, always the person to hand me a Kleenex when I cried, always the one to make me realize that in the grand scheme of things, I actually have it pretty easy. Yes, my son is autistic, but as difficult as he can be, he is a shining light in a relatively dark corner of the universe. My dad was always there to remind me of that. 

So it’s really hard, when I have those days with Ethan where I feel like I’m at my wits’ end and just need someone to talk to, someone to go have a soda or, yes, a drink with, and talk to about things…it’s incredibly difficult for me to realize, all over again, that my dad is not here for me to talk to anymore. He passed away on July 29th.

And I miss him. He was truly, genuinely, an amazing person. An amazing husband, an amazing father, an amazing grandfather, and an amazing friend, to everyone he came across in his life. My dad was without a doubt the most selfless person I have ever met. This expression sounds so cliché, but my dad was one of those people who would literally give you the shirt off of his back if you needed it. If you needed $20 for something, he’d give you $100, “just in case.” If you needed to borrow an egg, he’d give you the whole carton. If you needed a little bit of gas in your car to get from Point A to Point B, he’d fill the tank for you. If you needed help with a problem, he was there for advice, or just to listen. Always ready with a joke, whether you needed a laugh or not.

It’s hard to explain to any child that one of their grandparents has passed away. I don’t know a lot of four-year-olds who understand the concept of death, but it’s even more difficult when your child is autistic and speech delayed. It’s hard for me to drive up to my mom’s house and to hear him say, “We’re going to see Grandma and Papa, Mommy! We’re at Grandma and Papa’s house!” when we pull up to the curb. It’s tough to hear him ask me, periodically, “Where’s Papa, Mommy?” 

All I can think of to tell him is, “Papa’s in Heaven, and he’s not hurting anymore. He’s happy and healthy now, and we’ll see him someday soon, when it’s our turn to go Home.”

We miss you, Dad. And we love you more than words can say. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Medication: Our Child, Our Choice

I have two subjects I feel the need to address today, but I can’t seem to find a good way to incorporate the two. Therefore, I think it only fitting that I make a separate post tomorrow!

Today, however, I’d like to discuss the medication that Ethan has been taking for the last few weeks: Risperidone. This is the generic brand of the drug Risperdal. Now, there’s no nice way to say this, but it is an antipsychotic drug. In large doses (and in adults), it’s primarily used to treat the symptoms of schizophrenia and certain problems caused by bipolar disorder.

In children with autism, however , and in minute doses (Ethan takes .5 mL in liquid form at bedtime every night), it is used to curb aggressive behaviors, violent meltdowns, and just generally improve their mood so that they are less stubborn and resistant. Yes, there are pros and cons to taking it, just like there are pros and cons to any other drug out there that you could take for just about anything. Even herbal remedies have pros and cons to them! 

Some people have undoubtedly wondered why we chose to try medication with Ethan. Now, let me be clear, here: my husband and I do not owe anyone an explanation, nor are we obligated to justify ourselves to anyone. I am volunteering this information for other parents of autistic children in the hope that, should this be an option they are considering, our experience will help them decide one way or another whether or not this is a viable option for their child and their family as a whole.

That being said: a few months ago, we noticed that Ethan was getting more and more aggressive with Alex, his younger brother, who, at the time, was not yet a year old. At first it seemed harmless enough: snatching a toy away from him here, pushing him down there. We attributed it to typical older brother behavior and resolved to just keep a closer eye on the two of them while they played together.

But it started getting worse. It reached a point that we were unable to leave the two of them in a room alone together at all, otherwise screaming and crying ensued and usually resulted in Ethan being put on a Time Out in his room, which would bring on a complete and total meltdown and would in turn result in Ethan throwing toys at the walls, pulling things down off of his dresser, hitting himself, scratching himself, and just generally being destructive.

One weekend day when my husband was home, I left the living room to take a shower. He was on the computer and the boys were playing, and while Ethan was being a bit rougher than we care for, he wasn’t actually touching Alex, so my husband let it slide. When I came out of the shower, however, I heard grunting, crashes, and screaming from Ethan’s room. I knew immediate that something had happened, so I came out in the living room to find out what had transpired during my 20 minute absence. What my husband told me genuinely frightened me. Apparently, not long after I’d left the room, he heard muffled screams and couldn’t tell whether it was Alex or Ethan. He got up and walked around the corner to the kitchen/dining room area and saw that Ethan had his then-10-month-old brother pinned down on the floor on his back, his knee in his chest, and had both hands covering his nose and mouth, and Alex was hysterical and having a hard time breathing. My husband had to yell at Ethan to get him to get up off of his brother, and Ethan spent the rest of the day in his room. We were completely horrified and knew at this point that we had to do something. We had been considering the option of medication for a while but had gone back and forth. This incident was the clincher. I was not about to spend my days protecting one of my children from the other.

Now, I feel the need to pause and insert something, here. Those of you who know my boys and, primarily, know Ethan, may be sitting there thinking, “But he’s so sweet! He could never behave that way!” Well, yes, you’re right; he is sweet. And normally, he doesn’t behave this way. But in individuals with Autism, they don’t know how to not give in to their impulses the way neurotypical people do. Especially as children, they have a hard time considering that there may be negative consequences as the result of a negative action. In short, they don’t think; they just do.

Risperidone is designed and prescribed, in small doses, as I said, to autistic children in an attempt to curb these impulsive behaviors. Does it always work? No. It is entirely dependent on the individual in question. Does the same antidepressant drug prescribed for one person suffering from clinical depression work exactly the same as it would for another with the same condition? Absolutely not. Sometimes it’s a matter of changing the dosage, sometimes the prescribing psychiatrist may decide to add some sort of antidepressant (SSRI – selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor), and sometimes they think the best course of action would be to try something else entirely.

As I said, Ethan has been on Risperidone for a few weeks now, and the truth is that yes, he still exhibits some aggressive behavior, but it is significantly less than what we were seeing. His communication skills have improved even more; he’s easier to talk to, reason with, and he communicates with us better. When I ask him a question now, he actually answers me almost all the time with “Yes” or “No,” rather than repeating my question back to me or rephrasing my question as an answer (i.e., “Ethan, do you want a PBJ for lunch?” becoming “You want a PBJ for wunch.”).

Speaking of lunch: interestingly enough, one of the drastic changes we’ve seen has been Ethan’s eating habits. Mealtimes a few weeks ago were very stressful, and it was almost always a battle to get a decent amount of food into him. 

Let me lay out for you what a daily menu for Ethan looked like just a few short weeks ago:

  • Breakfast: A “breakfast corn dog” (one of those Jimmy Dean sausage links wrapped in a pancake) OR banana bread, OR French toast sticks (with no syrup), but only the Farm Rich brand, and they had to be cinnamon. If they were a different brand, Ethan knew, and he would not touch them.

  • Lunch: The outside (crust) of a PBJ OR a “regular corn dog,” followed by animal crackers OR fruit snacks OR Cheerios “with no milk.”

  • Snack: Cheerios with no milk, OR animal crackers OR fruit snacks OR graham crackers.

  • Dinner: Usually one of the above items, either repeated out of desperation or rotated (for example, if he had a breakfast corn dog for breakfast that morning, we would usually relent and give him French toast sticks for dinner, just so he would eat something). Dessert, again, would usually be a rotated item from the above list. 

He would only eat cupcakes “wif no frostin’,” and corn dogs had to be sliced with a serrated knife into half-inch wide slices. If any of the breading was torn, he would insist on Daddy or I eating that piece and would refuse to touch the rest of what was on his plate. He would not eat broken graham crackers. If a Cheerio in his bowl was broken, he would eat around it and sometimes go so far as to pick it off of his spoon and lay it on the table before putting the spoon in his mouth.

So, I won’t lay out a what a typical menu might look like today for you, but I will tell you that Ethan is actually trying, eating, and asking for new foods now! We couldn’t be happier. Some things that he’s eating now that he wouldn’t touch or even taste before include bananas, macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches, turkey sandwiches, chicken nuggets, rice, tortillas/quesadillas, Jell-O, fruit cups (his favorite is peaches), and he actually asked his daddy for a taco one night!

Some other things that he’s okay with now are eating a piece of his corn dog even if the breading is torn, keeping his shirt on if it gets wet (like, if a drop or two of juice spills on his front, he used to hiss, claw at himself, rip his shirt off, and run away), and water getting in his face when we wash his hair. These things were intolerable to him a few weeks ago.

He’s also a lot more easygoing if plans change now. Anyone with an autistic child knows how upset and distressed they can get when plans or routines change for them. Ethan is mildly upset at first if we change plans now, but is easily distracted and, most importantly, listens and understands when we explain to him why plans have changed. He’s usually fine with it.

And now, the biggest change of all: he’s talking to and playing with other kids! He doesn’t wait for them to approach him on the playground anymore; he walks right up to them and says “My name is Ethan and I’m four years old!” We were at the playground the other day and he walked right up to a group of girls (I know, I know, girls already?!) and was grinning at them shyly. One very sweet girl who looked to be a bit older than Ethan asked him if he wanted to play with them. To my shock and surprise,  he confidently answered “Yes, I do!” He climbed into the boat with them and they proceeded to play “Pirates” for all of about 5 minutes, which I’m sure is as long as any of their attention spans could stretch. But my heart melted! This was the little boy who, just last December, refused to go down the slide at the playground because there were two little girls using it. This is the little boy who screamed and ran away to hide behind his father or me whenever other children tried to talk to him or interact with him. He’s got friends at school, and he doesn’t make “angry cat noises” (as I used to call them) at other adults or say that he doesn’t like someone when they try to talk to him. He makes eye contact with people other than family members (however brief it may be), shakes hands and says “Hi, my name is Ethan. Nice to meet you!” He’s even more affectionate with us than he used to be. When I asked him yesterday if I could cut his hair, instead of getting the standard “angry cat noise” and the “I don’t wanna wet Mommy cut my hair!” that I expected, what I got was, “Well, okay.” 

After giving Ethan a bath to wash all the hair off, I was knelt down on the bathroom floor drying him off. I saw out of the corner of my eye that he was smiling at me, and when I looked up at him he grabbed the sides of my face and kissed me on the lips. As if that weren’t shocking enough, he then threw his arms around me, hugged me, and said, “Oh, I wub you, Mommy, so, so bery much!”

That is a memory that I will cherish until my dying day.

Now, there is one con that we’ve spotted with the Risperidone so far. Are you ready? For about a week there, Ethan would wake up once, sometimes twice, a night. But he went right back to sleep after some water and a little snuggle from Mommy or Daddy.

“That’s it?” you say? Yep, that’s it.

Has Risperidone made our lives perfect? Absolutely not. Is life with an autistic child ever perfect? Absolutely not. But it has made our family life and, more importantly, Ethan’s life, so much more enjoyable.

So, to you naysayers out there who are against medicating children when it’s necessary and warranted, especially when the child in question is not your child, , I have this to say to you: the results speak for themselves. Our family, our child, our choice. And finally, to put it bluntly:

We’re happier, and Ethan’s happier. Mind your own damn business. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Que Sera, Sera.

With all the frustrating trials and unbelievable challenges we face in raising Ethan every day, it’s no wonder that my thoughts are literally consumed by my firstborn son.

What does surprise me, though, is how much I worry about his little brother. Alex, so far, is not only apparently “normally-developing,” but seems to be the complete reverse of Ethan; where Ethan was late on everything as a baby, Alex is early. He rolled completely over at 2 months, sat up at 4 months, stood up at 5.5 months. At 7 months he was crab-walking while holding onto the furniture, and by 8 months he was toddling around the living room, completely unassisted. Crawling happened somewhere in there, too, but didn’t last long once he figured out he could just get up and run wherever he wanted! He’s been babbling and saying simple words (mama, dada, baba, yum yum, bubble, bye-bye) for quite a few months now. He’s  11 months and 6 days old as of today.

Alex does so many things that Ethan never did as a baby. Alex reaches out to us to be picked up. Ethan never did that. Alex already blows kisses, gives us kisses, he hugs us, for God’s sake! Ethan is 4 years old. He literally just started giving us proper hugs within the last 6 months.

Alex dances. Like, actually dances to music. He laughs and jokes with us. He mimics our movements and tries to repeat words back to us. He loves to be held. He even breastfeeds better than Ethan did as a baby. At 11 months, I’m worried about how I’m going to wean him once his first birthday comes around. I was barely able to get Ethan to breastfeed for 2 months. It was very stressful for both of us, and a feeding usually ended with us both crying and me begging my husband to just give him a bottle of formula so he would go to sleep.

The last couple of weeks, we’ve noticed that Alex has learned how to spin in circles. He doesn’t do it for extended periods of time; in fact, he doesn’t even seem to do it long enough to let himself get dizzy. But I was actually concerned enough to Google it, and apparently it’s perfectly normal for babies his age to do that. But let me tell you, the first time I saw him do it, I felt sick to my stomach. I had a moment of sheer panic. I still find myself checking every day to make sure he’s making eye contact with me, testing him out to see if he’s losing any of his words or regressing at all. When I see him crawling somewhere instead of walking (which he almost never does, unless we’re in an unfamiliar place), I catch myself rushing over and hauling him up to his feet… and why? I guess maybe I’m reminding him that he can walk, I don’t know.

We also have some serious reservations about letting Alex cry it out, because we used the Baby-Wise Method with Ethan to get him to sleep through the night when he was a baby. It worked, he slept through the night by the time he was 8 weeks old, but it was tough. The Baby-Wise Method is all about teaching your baby to self-soothe and involves extensive crying it out. There have also been some reports (though admittedly all of them are unfounded) that there may be some correlation between the Baby-Wise Method and autism. So I’m sure you can see why this is a method I haven’t been entirely on board with where our second child is concerned. We’ve tried, and the effort usually culminated in my husband or myself rushing in to pick Alex up and cuddle him after approximately 12 seconds. We always give up and rock him to sleep. We just can't bear the thought of the alternative.

I recently read an article that said parents of children with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) have roughly a 5% chance of having another child with ASD. It also said that the chances of having a second child that does not have ASD is over 90% and that having one child with ASD should not affect the couple’s decision to have another child.

So why do my husband and I agonize over this very decision? We can’t seem to decide whether or not we want to have another baby. We go back and forth almost daily. Why do I check Alex out every day to make sure he’s still developing normally and that he’s not showing any signs of autism, signs of regression, signs of… well, becoming like Ethan? Because I’m so afraid of it, this mysterious…being…that is Autism. I have nightmares about it. I have dreams of walking into a room and seeing my precious babies’ faces disappearing. One minute they’re smiling at me, laughing, talking, and the next minute, they have no faces. No expression. No voices. They’re nothing. And they’re sitting in the room with me, but I’m alone.
I’m pretty sure that’s straight out of an episode of “The Twilight Zone.” How original.

I guess the only thing I can do is listen to that old song (I happen to prefer Doris Day’s rendition), Que Sera, Sera, and realize that the most important thing to remember is that “Whatever Will Be, Will Be.” 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Autism: The Scarlet Letter

“Autism” is a word that I never thought would become part of my everyday vocabulary. But here I am, using it at least once a day. Bare minimum. I’m okay with that. I can say it. Autism! See?
The frustrations that come along with it are something else entirely, though. 

When Ethan was diagnosed a few weeks ago, the doctor we saw told me that it’s not just the child that receives the diagnosis; it’s the whole family. Oh, how right he was. Autism, whether we like to think so or not, carries with it a stigma. There are times lately when I feel like I’m wearing the Scarlet Letter on my chest – a big red “A” for all the world to see – only my “A” doesn’t stand for “Adultery.” It stands for “Autism.” Ethan’s behaviors are changing, as is typical of autistic characteristics. You see the most drastic changes before the age of five. Well, we’re sure seeing them now! He’s still very verbal, which is good. In fact, he’s more verbal now than ever...enough so that there are times when I find myself wishing he would be quiet, just for five precious minutes…although his speech pattern is very robotic and monotone in nature, he still mixes up his pronouns, and still very rarely makes appropriate responses to questions. One thing he has shown a lot of improvement on is making eye contact, which is absolutely wonderful! But we’re seeing a lot of “stimming” now, more than ever. That’s a term that’s short for self-stimulatory behavior; autistic people tend to stim to help themselves manage negative emotions, things like fear, anxiety, anger, and sadness, or sometimes to help themselves cope with overwhelming sensory input (too much noise, bright light, being too hot, etc.). Stimming can manifest itself as things like hand flapping, spinning, making repetitive noises or repeating certain words or phrases over and over…and over…and over…again. Relentlessly, sometimes. But don’t let yourself be fooled – stimming is a part of most people’s behavior patterns! Do you bite your nails? Wiggle your foot back and forth while sitting with your legs crossed? Pace the floor? Blink excessively? Maybe you have a nervous twitch? If you do these things or any other repetitive behaviors, you’ve stimmed, too!

The most notable differences in typical and autistic stimming, though, are the choice or medium of stimming, and how much of it there is. For whatever reason, an autistic kid spinning and flapping their hands is looked down upon, while nail biting (something  that, quite frankly, makes my skin crawl) is perfectly tolerated and acceptable. Now, Ethan is not a “hand-flapper,” and he’s not even really a “spinner” anymore. His number one stim right now is saying “Hi, Mommy!” at least 50 times a day. And if I don’t say “Hi, Ethan!” right back, he gets distressed and can move towards a meltdown quicker than you could say “Jack Robinson!” He also occasionally does things like making a repetitive clicking noise in the back of his throat, mimicking sounds like a door he hears snick shut, and the absolute worst is when he echoes his 10-month-old brother, whether it be cooing, crying, laughing, shrieking, you name it. Quite frankly, it drives me nuts! And no, I don’t feel guilty at all saying that – it’s perfectly normal for my child’s stims to drive me to my breaking point.

Now, I’m here to tell you something, people. I love my son with all my heart. I do. But Autism is a bitter, bitter pill to swallow. It has isolated us from everything and everyone we know and love. Never before have I been in a room full of people at a party, or in a crowded super market, or even in the living room relaxing with my own family, and felt so completely and utterly alone. Friends and family reach out to us (though a good number have simply abandoned us – it’s a cold, hard fact, but a fact, nonetheless), but the truth is that I always feel like I’m on the outside looking in now. I see friends posting on Facebook about how eager they are for their kids’ summer vacations to start, because they have all these plans and are looking forward to spending so much time with their children! They’re excited, literally counting down the days. I’m the exact opposite: I am positively dreading Ethan being out of school for the summer. I know he won’t handle the transition well (we’re lucky that he absolutely adores school), and, to put it bluntly, I know I’m going to go completely bonkers with him here every day, all day, no breaks, and no help. However, there is a possibility that I’ll be going back to work sometime soon, so if that happens, there will be day care…if we can find a place that will take him. A place that is equipped to handle kids with special needs. The last day care experience we had was anything but good, so I’m already experiencing a lot of anxiety about this.

There are some people in our lives who, believe it or not, refuse to even say the word “Autism” or “Autistic.” They either feel like they’re insulting Ethan, insulting us, or they grew up in a generation where the word “Autistic” may as well have been synonymous with “Retarded,” so they’re ashamed of it. 

Well, as isolated and lonely as I may feel now, I’m not ashamed. I will never be ashamed of Ethan, because Autism just means different…not less. He is just as smart, just as loveable, just as funny, and just as amazing as anyone else’s child. But he’s my child, he is fearfully and wonderfully made, he is beautiful, and regardless of how alone I may sometimes feel, I will wear my Scarlet Letter proudly!  

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Game Changer

I can’t think of a good way to start this post off, so I’m going to be honest and start it off the way it played out in my head. I’ll go ahead and briefly apologize for my lack of entries the last few weeks, but my dad was in the hospital for a very long time; it involved a lot of back-and-forth on my part and disruption of our family schedule, which Ethan – well, okay, none of us tolerated it well. But my dad is home now and getting better, so I’ll be doing my best at regular postings from now on. So, down to business with an update.

Let me start off by saying that about three and a half weeks ago, we experienced a Game Changer.

What I mean by this is that three and a half weeks ago, we had Ethan’s psychological evaluation at the Regional Center. This was the big one, to see if he qualified for ABA (behavioral intervention). Normally with a diagnosis of PDD-NOS or even Aspergers, kids are not considered “autistic enough” to qualify for treatment. This, however, was not the case with us.

The interview was quick, maybe 30-45 minutes. Ethan did not engage in any imaginative play. He was able to put together puzzles very quickly. He held onto a green plastic ring from a baby ring stacker that he had found in the doctor’s toy box for the entire interview. He repeatedly came to me and said “Hi, Mommy!” seeking reassurance. He made some eye contact with the doctor, but did not acknowledge him as a stranger or display any kind of nervousness around him. He had trouble transitioning from activity to activity, although there has been tremendous improvement with this since he started school a few months ago.

The doctor fired questions at me left and right, not giving me much time to think about them, which I think was good –it probably would have given me a way to “get out of” answering truthfully. At the end of the interview, the doctor sat back and watched Ethan intently for a bit. He then looked at me and said that he thought Ethan was a very nice boy and that I was very poised and handle him very well, for which I thanked him. Then he asked me “The Question.”

“So, Mom, what do you think?”

“I think he’s autistic.”

“I do, too. I’m recommending full services.”

And there it was. That word, the "A" word. This is what we’ve wanted and needed since we started this process almost a year ago: a diagnosis. So why am I still so sad? 

Because now, my child is not just on the Spectrum.

Now he’s autistic.

But I still love him with every fiber of my being, and I will still fight with – and for - him, every minute, every hour, every day, until my last dying breath. He is still my little boy, my everything. And I will always be his mother. Many things in life are Game Changers, but Autism will never change that.