In an effort to create a better understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorder, we have created this "Faces For Autism" blog. Here, you can share an in depth, no holds barred look into the day to day triumphs, struggles and real world stories not only from individuals with Autism but also you; the people in their lives that support them.
Every face is a different story and we would like to encourage YOU to send us yours.
This weeks story was submitted by Karla Leung and her wonderful family!
"Halloween was around the corner, but costumes and candy were the furthest things from our minds. It was during this time in 2011 that our sons, at just shy of three years old, were diagnosed with autism.
My husband and I weren't surprised by the diagnoses. Neither boy made much eye contact, their speech was delayed and sadly, they didn't seem to be aware of (nor to care about) each other's existence. They would perform odd rituals with their toys, such as lying sideways on the floor with a mini car or truck and just spin its wheels over and over again. They didn't point to make their needs known. They wouldn't react to the sounds of their own names. These were all red flags that we simply couldn't ignore. Nevertheless, it tore my heart apart to see the diagnosis reports. I recall one morning when I sat on my kitchen floor and cried, and wondered how the hell we were going to keep it together and find the help our sons so badly needed. We floundered for months trying to stitch together a network of support. But gradually things came together and a new way of life became the "norm" for us.
Fast forward five years and a lot has changed. There have been two moves since 2011 in a quest to find an inclusive community and a school that can accommodate our sons' needs. Intensive ABA therapy is part of our sons' lives and has been since their diagnoses. Every day brings new challenges and our sons have grown exponentially, yet they occasionally do regress. For me, this is the hardest thing to accept about their autism. Our sons might learn new skills but at the same time they might pick up an old stim or a habit such as picking at scabs until they're nearly infected, biting their nails down to the quick or mouthing rocks or hair. Self-injurious and aggressive behaviours have also surfaced. Most days are a mixed bag and it's hard to predict anything long-term. Though at the same time, my sons are charming, funny, and are bursting with curiosity about the world around them. We laugh together everyday. They've persevered and have learned so much over the past few years. Autism or not, they're still our sons, and they're still just "regular" boys who deserve to be treated as such."
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Each week we will feature a new face and story at www.bikersforautism.com/blog/faces-for-autism
Thanks to our project leader Mercede Campbell
Check her out at www.mercederain.com