Monday, December 1, 2014

Another One That's A Bit Overdue

Another One That's A Bit Overdue

 I know,I know, I have been slacking yet again. Life just gets so busy you know?! Colton started school in early September. I'm sure I had more stress and anxiety about it than he did. It has actually really been a great benefit to him. I've seen massive growth in his vocabulary and attitude towards other children particularly ones his age. In mid October he started extended days which has been tough because it wears him out and I feel as if I have even less time with him. I did quit my job at the end of October so I have actually had weekends with him which has been really great. He's starting to become really interested in letters and numbers and is just so very bright. It has been so exciting to watch him learn and light up when he gets things right. Our biggest issue lately has been potty training. 

Potty Training 

This has proven to be probably one of our biggest challenges yet. Colton is very interested in the concept of using the potty. He knows the routine and is open to books and movies about it. However when it comes to actually just sitting on the potty he flat our refuses and if the issue is pushed he has a meltdown. I can't figure out why he is so against it. He doesn't seem to be afraid of the potty and the idea of underwear is very appealing to him but he knows he must successfully use the potty to get those. If only they made Star Wars or Angry Birds themed potty books. I could see those helping. Perhaps it's time for me to get crafty! Now on to some positive things. 


For as long as Colton has lived he has been freaked out by holidays. This is the first year he has been excited for them and we have truly been enjoying it. He loves Halloween and everything that comes with it. We were able to take him to a carnival! He still wouldn't wear a costume but he was okay with seeing others in them. He is obsessed with Santa and he was actually able to sit on his lap and tell him what he wanted for Christmas (Chewbacca toy!). I can't wait for Christmas celebrations with him this year. 

Making A Friend 

 Colton has managed to make a friend of sorts. There's a little boy at his school who is similar in a lot of ways to him and they actually "play" together. By play I mean games like chase and hide and seek but this is a huge step forward for him. He likes to share with him (another big step). I am so happy to see this and very proud of him. 

In Closing 

Colton is making a lot of progress. So much so that I have people telling me all the time "Oh he can't be autistic" or "See, he's normal". Well that is the goal of loads of therapy isn't it?! I want the world to not see my son as a label but I do want them to realize that he is different but that it's ok. They don't always see what I deal with, the meltdowns,the extreme rigidity, the major prompting and planning that we do everyday to get through what we need to do. For example I always tell Colton the "rules" before we do anything. Such as we are going to a place to eat and here's the rules: we sit in our seat,we use quiet voices and we listen to Mama and Daddy. He repeats these several times to himself before and during and while it doesn't always work he needs that repetition to make it through. People never know what you go through with your life period. Don't make judgments about what others tell you. We are only trying to be open and fair to our son. We didn't ask for the autism but we accept it and we work with it and in some ways we enjoy it. I wouldn't have Colton be anything but himself. 

 Maybe next year he will smile for his Santa picture but hey at least we got one!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Way Overdue

It's really been far too long without an update. I could ramble off excuses:I had surgery,started working more often,vacation etc etc. However I just really haven't pushed myself to sit down and type. Anyways on with the updates. 

In June the day before Coltons 3rd birthday he had his last sessions with Birth To Three. It was a sad but happy moment. Colton has come so far in the last year. It's hard to believe that a year ago I had a child who did not talk and had extreme sensory issues. He still definitely has a lot to get through but Birth To Three was a godsend. I will forever be grateful for getting him into Early Intervention Services. I know those who go without these services can have a much harder time making up for them. Let me backtack a bit.  

In May Colton was tested to see if he would be going to developmental preschool. He was accepted into the program and will be starting school September 10th. I have a lot of anxiety about this. How can I be able to put my 3 year old on a school bus by himself and send him off to school? How will he deal with another person changing his diapers? How will he feel when he realizes he is alone? I'm sure I am overly worried about this but it's tough. Most parents get to have their kids at home until 5. I feel like I am having to go through this way too early. As with everything I know our family will persevere. It's just going to be a really hard adjustment. I worry that Colton will struggle with some reverting type behaviors.I worry that they won't understand him when he tries to talk,I worry he may not talk at school at all. All I can do is hope. I've been riding on hope this entire journey and I don't suppose that will change,ever. Now to talk about something great! 

In July we took a family road trip to California. This was huge,we never could have done this before. Yes, it wasn't perfect but it was better than I ever could have hoped. Colton made it through amusement parks full of people,noisy environments. He slept in a bed that wasn't his. He had his entire routine thrown off and made it through it like a champion. My son is truly my hero. 

I truly hope that I can get back on this. I feel awful for not "blogging" more considering this has been almost like a form of therapy for me. I also think it's important to tell Coltons story, and to share updates with friends and family. As always thank you so much for reading and for your support! 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Our Story For United Way

Another Opportunity To Share Coltons Story 

I was approached with another opportunity this past week to share our experience with Skip Dynamic Partners Birth To Three program and I gladly accepted. I just thought I would share what was written with you all. Albeit it isn't anything new. I'm just so happy to share Coltons progress with anyone and everyone. It will always be a journey but being able to focus on the positive aspects and joys of it mean so much to me. Enjoy! 

I first noticed something was different about my son Colton when he was very little. I brushed a lot of it aside just telling myself I was probably overreacting. He hit all of his milestones so I figured everything was okay. When he was fourteen months old he started whispering and by fifteen months he stopped talking completely. We began to worry and expressed our fears at his eighteen month checkup. Our doctor suggested waiting until he was two before we really investigated this. It was during this wait time I watch many other strange things begin to manifest in my son. After doing a lot of research on my own I began to believe he was autistic. At his two year checkup in June I insisted my doctor refer us to Children's Autism Center in Seattle. We had our appointment there in August and they referred us to get his tested for developmental delay and autism. We scheduled an evaluation with Skip Dynamic Partners Birth to Three program for that September. It was at this appointment my son was classified as developmentally delayed. It was of course difficult to receive but we were just happy to be able to start helping him. A month later we had him tested at a center in Federal Way and he was diagnosed as autistic level two. We began therapies with Skip in October starting with OT therapy. My son has really bonded with his OT and we have watched so much growth and development come from it. By the beginning of November he was saying "Mama" and a few other words. It was at this time we also added on Speech therapy. It is now March and I'm happy to report that my son has grown from a child who was afraid of many sounds and other children, who couldn't talk at all to now a child who is responsive to others and becoming very talkative. We couldn't be happier. I'm sad our time is growing short with Skip, they have truly been a godsend to us. If you are interested in knowing more I highly suggest reading my blog at I am proud of what my son has accomplished and I have so much hope for his future. We owe a lot to the therapists at Skip, they will always have a special place in our hearts.  

In Closing 

As always thank you for reading and for your continued support. I'm so proud of my son. Some days can be especially tough but I wouldn't change him "cure" him for the world. I embrace my sons autism. Without it he wouldn't be who he is. I continue to learn so much from him and others in the autism community. I have to admit I'm pleasantly surprised at how well we all support each other. The strongest women I have ever met I have met while on this journey and I am proud to be among them. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Another Opportunity To Share My Story

Spreading Our Story Around 


 Last month I received an e-mail from a woman who works at WAAA asking me if I would like the opportunity to share Colton's story with them and have it go on their website. I happily agreed. I will enclose the link to it here: I was so thrilled to have this chance to share our sons story and possibly bring others the awareness to what is going on with insurance problems in our state and possibly reach those out there who are struggling and need WAAA's help. Now onto a few updates in our life. 


 Colton has just been talking and talking. We are finally hearing two words at a time. Granted it's almost always because he's repeating what we have said or something he has heard on TV but I am so proud. It is such a joy to hear his little voice! I'm so proud at the progress he is making and how hard he continues to work on his speech. 

 We have set up his official testing date with the public schools for May 2nd. I'm nervous to see how it goes but I'm hoping that as with everything else so far we find new opportunities and chances for growth. His cognitive skills are so amazing and I hope they get the chance to see how brilliant he truly is. 

 While we are still on the subject of schools we have heard that we may have a possibility of getting him into a local private preschool. While of course this may be stretching it for us financially,I can only pray that we get this chance. I feel that Colton should be challenged academically not only taught life skills. He already can count to ten and recognizes all letters and is even attempting to spell. I feel I would be failing him as a mother if I didn't try to find the best fit for school for him. 

In Closing 

 I'm keeping this one short but hope to be back here soon with more updates and positivity. I am so blessed to be Coltons mother. Everyday with him is a blessing. This doesn't mean it's easy, he can certainly be trying at times but we are weathering the storms and enjoying the rainbows that come after. I truly believe that because of Coltons autism I have grown so much as a person and gained so much insight and knowledge even just in these last few short years and I know it will only get better. The future can certainly take it's time but I am looking forward to it.As always thank you for reading and your continued support. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Ups And Downs

Roller Coaster Ride 


 The Downs

I may as well start with the negative so as always I can end on a better note. I guess I will start with the school tours. 

Public School 

So we went about a week ago to visit the public school Colton would be going to in the fall.Keep in mind I really went in there with an open mind however what I found was difficult to process. First off the classroom is in a portable. It isn't even a real classroom. Then let's look at teacher-child ratio. There are two aides for twelve kids. It's okay but certainly not ideal. While it seemed that it wasn't a horrid place I will be honest. What I saw was chairs with restraints and what appeared to be a school dedicated to keeping these kids in special education not helping the ones who have potential get eventually integrated.Of course I am being a little biased, I truly have no real experience with the public school system and their developmental delay preschools but I just left there feeling sick. I dislike how the public school system defines my child as low functioning when I know he is very high functioning, almost a savant in some ways.  I also don't appreciate that he would be only 3 years old and in school five days a week for six hours a day.

ABA School 

One week prior to our public school visit we went to tour an ABA school. Not only is this a school where Colton would receive all of his behavioral therapy but they are guiding children to be able to get into regular 1st grade. They divide them up by ability not how they fall on a "normal" scale. In short they would be teaching my son to read, not strapping him to a chair. Also the teacher-student ratio is three teacher/aides to one child. That in itself is amazing. Here comes the negative news, our insurance of course does not cover behavioral therapies including ABA,not only that the school doesn't even work with our insurance company brand. Oh and did I mention it's $1,600 a month if you are self pay like we would be?! Yeah well we are pretty much back at square one. 

Upcoming Surgery 

I found out recently that a surgery I've been putting off can no longer be put off. It could be as easy as just three incisions and two weeks of healing or it could turn into a much more major surgery with a recovery time of ten weeks or so. This of course means it will be very difficult to deal with my toddler especially because he is so attached to me and doesn't comprehend other peoples feelings or pain (essentially like many with ASD he lacks sympathy). Thankfully my husband will be able to take some time off but I'm just having a hard time picturing how this will work out for my son or I. Albeit without this surgery things could be so much worse for everyone so I'm just going to go in with positive thinking, it's all I can do. 

 The Ups 

 Colton continues to be bursting with new words. He is responding so well to therapy at this point my expectations and hopes increase each day. I am so proud of how far he has come and how hard he works. He is really into spelling lately. If he sees a word he spells it out, I could listen to him do that all day! He has started to become more confident in himself as well. I believe that he is meant for some truly great things. He has started to create real bonds, maybe it's only with adults but it's definitely a start. Raising children is hard work, raising one with special needs is indeed a journey but I wouldn't trade it for anything! What's normal anyways? :) 

In Closing 

 Again thank you as always for reading and for your continued support. Autism awareness has come a long way but we still have a long road ahead but I truly believe that someday things will be so much better, more informative, easier. I also truly believe the key to this is education. Every time I encounter a "non believer" or a "skeptic" I do get upset but I also choose to take it as a chance to educate. Let us not forget that some people are just ignorant, what they don't know they fear, they don't understand. We as parents of special needs children are warriors, so are our children. Together we will fight their fight, even if it seems like an endless battle it is worth it! It will always be worth it. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Trick Is To Keep Breathing

The Trick Is To Keep Breathing 

It again has been too long without an update. Life just goes by so fast and there is always to much to be done and never enough time to do them all. While there isn't a whole lot new to report there are a few updates worth mentioning. Beginning with our appointment with our DDD case manager. 

At the beginning of this month we went forward with our application for our states Basic Health Waiver through DDD. We had a 3 hour appointment/assessment with our case manager. We of course knew this process would be a long shot but it is my belief that it would be a waste if we didn't try and apply for everything out there. Today I received a letter in the mail informing us that we were being denied the waiver. Our sons name will still go into the state database and maybe someday when funds are available we will have another shot. We can still appeal this decision but acknowledging the lack of state funding we know that too may be in vain. 

A update on our insurance proves to still be tiring. They have continued to successfully avoid sending out actual documentation of a denial meaning we have no evidence to sue or appeal with. Our case manager through Aetna seems to have disappeared as well, I cannot seem to catch her. Well such is life, I'd like to step away from the negative for now and look at the positives. 

While our time with "Birth To Three" is growing short we continue to observe much progress with our son. While he still cannot seem to manage two words at a time his one word vocabulary is exploding. Our son has such a desire to absorb everything. He has such a craving for education. I have no doubt this will prove to be a major strength for him. He continues to be obsessed with numbers and letters to the point where he now sees a word and spells it out letter for letter. It may prove fruitful to start trying to teach him to read. I truly believe the capacity is there. He is also very interested in his communication board and the PECS method. I continue to try and learn as much sign language as I can since even though he is unable to use signs due to his lack of fine motor skills he does learn them and I am able to use them as extra assistance when talking to him. 

 I am still having a heard time getting past the loneliness I have felt over the past couple of years. I thought by now I would be making "mommy friends" and setting up playdates for my son. This still may become easier once we are in developmental preschool and I am able to be surrounded by those in similar situations. It's not that I would be against friendship or playdates with typical children and families it's just that the opportunities don't present themselves. That with the major involvement with therapy sessions and the fact that I still have to try and make as much money working two days a week as I can to keep us afloat. It all doesn't leave me much time either. Well enough of the pity party I do have a wonderful son who continues to fill my life with so much joy. I've never learned or loved so much in my life and for that I am truly thankful. 

In closing I would like to again as always thank you for reading this, for supporting us, for supporting Colton. We will never stop fighting. Not only for our son but for autism awareness, for all of our children who deserve everything the world and life has to offer. 


Monday, December 16, 2013

Ups And Downs

Ups And Downs 

I know it's been awhile since I've written an update but as you can all imagine my life can be busy, especially during this hectic time of year. We have been going through a lot some positive and some negative. Like they say you can't taste the sweet without the bitter. I'll start with the bitter so we can get past that quickly. 

The Bitter 

So I'm sure I have mentioned some of Colton's behavioral problems before but it seems that the older he gets, the more cognitive he becomes the more it seems to manifest itself. It's so hard to watch him feel the need to hurt himself,others,animals and objects. It's almost like he sets up a mission in his mind to be "mean" and can't stop until the task is completed. This is exactly why it is so important to get ABA therapy or at the very least some behavioral help from a therapist/specialist. It's just so hard to have this child who does these things who you can't seem to find the right way to teach to discipline. We can't even get him to look into our eyes let alone know that we are being serious. It's exhausting. It's hard enough for anyone to have a toddler they are a lot of work but when you have an ASD toddler it's like ten times the work and stress. Okay I think I can get past that now, I really needed to vent. 

On another "bitter" note we discovered that even though we finally got a caseworker through our private insurance she's just as clueless as everyone else. She had to e-mail me twice to learn about what ABA therapy was and what ABA stood for. Yeah,twice. To top that off we found out we do not qualify for legal aid to try and sue for these benefits due to the fact that we are income ineligible and have private insurance which they don't have "funding" for currently. It seems like we just can't win sometimes. 

The Sweet 

As I promised there is a rainbow after every storm. Colton is learning many words and very rapidly. While he still can't seem to put two words together it is becoming very apparent just how high functioning and intelligent he is. I can't say enough wonderful things about early intervention. I feel like our son is on his way to being a poster boy for it. He has already come such a long way in a short amount of time and that creates a lot of positivity for all of us. 

We also went to our first support group a few weeks ago. It was one through WAAA which I have mentioned previously, again they are a wonderful organization and if you live in Washington I urge you to look into them and join their network. It was so comforting to be in a room with other moms like me sharing their stories and thoughts. I just wish I had a way to enjoy this once a week and not just once a month. I left there feeling so empowered and ready to tackle everything I have to. 

We are also getting our own caseworker through DDA and while of course this doesn't mean a whole lot since they already have their hands so full it's at least a good feeling to know that we are beginning the long and arduous journey that comes with waiting lists through the state we are really hoping that something could come through for our son. The basic health need waiver would be a godsend. I will just continue to think positive but practical and say lots of prayers!

Earlier this month we took Colton on his first train ride. It was the Santa Train Special Needs Ride from North Bend to Snoqualmie. It was amazing. Not only did my son smile the biggest smiles the entire time but he actually got over his fear of Santa and had a blast. It was also my first train ride as well and I loved that we got to share that together. I can't wait to take him on more train rides. It was worth it and exceeded my expectations! 

In Closing 

I know we have a long road ahead and there are still many battles to fight and obstacles to overcome but it is always worth it. Colton will always be worth it. He is truly my superhero. He has overcome so much and continues too. I am so amazed and fascinated by him. He is truly a joy and such a blessing in my life and in every life he touches. People gravitate towards him and I believe that will come to be a great strength for him. As always thank you for reading this and your continued support. Have a happy holiday and enjoy it with those you love, I know I will. 


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Little Overdue

It's Been Awhile 

I feel bad that it has been awhile since I've "blogged" or given an update however I have a lot of news. Most of it pretty positive! 

More Talking 

 I am so happy to report that Colton now says "Mama" and "Dada" plus a few more things. Cutting my hours down to just weekends and getting more active therapy has really been working. I've seen so much positive changes in the last month alone and it makes me so happy. To hear my son say "Mama" made me the happiest woman in the world. I truly wanted to throw a parade. Something so many take for granted really made my day. In fact it has been the best thing so far in my life other than the day he was born. It is also awesome to note that we now have a speech therapist on board and she seems to really understand our son well. This makes me happy, we have been so blessed to have every therapist be a wonderful one. 

Neurology Appointment 

 We still are on a waiting list for this but it looks like it won't be much longer. Looking like sometime in late January and while I am nervous about it I would like to try and stay positive and hope that maybe there could be a few answers to things we have been questioning albeit even if they aren't we can at least rule some things out. 

Case Manager For Insurance 

 After the guidance from an amazing woman who works for WAAA (which I have mentioned previously) I demanded that we get assigned a case manager for our son and after much "badgering" we finally have one. She seems to really want to find out everything she can for our son and us. I'm so blessed to continually have so many wonderful and well informed people come into my life. Although we are surely going to have issues with our insurance we at least have found someone willing to go the extra mile for us and for that I am grateful. 

Some Bitter Things 

As with everything in life with the good comes the bad. We are finding out more and more how much Colton is struggling with fine motor skills. It is causing him a lot of frustration which results in more violent meltdown type tantrums. Potty training still seems to be something for the much distant future although we will continue to encourage him but not push it too much. I think that Colton is starting to realize that he can't do several things other children his age can and that hurts me. I feel so much for my child and watching him struggle is hard. I can see how much he wants to ride a trike, to open a door, to color and throw balls like other children his age. He truly is my hero though, he always tries and when he fails even though he has meltdowns often he continues to push himself. Just this last month he began to "scoop and pour", which is something he was really having a hard time with. He has so much drive and motivation, I am such a proud Mama. 

Bright Future 

Colton is making so much progress and I truly believe he will accomplish a lot in his life. He is so brilliant and to live in his world must be incredible. I'm just happy he lets me in it sometimes. The way he sees the world and the patterns he creates are so fascinating and beautiful. I will just continue to advocate for him and be the best I can be for him. I know some who see me in everyday life may see a very tired woman and in truth I am but don't think for a second I am not always trying to be a "Super Mom", I'm just also human. Colton makes everyday worth living, every battle worth fighting. No one makes me smile like he does and I have no doubt he will bring many people happiness. I am so proud of the progress he is making and will continue to make. Thank you all as always for reading this and your continued support. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Today Was A Good Day

Today Was A Great Day 


The Sweet

 Well to be fair things have been looking up for at least a week now. Starting last Friday one of Colton's therapists came to his co-op preschool to observe him and he did really great and was responding well.I was so proud of how hard he was working to try new things. He has been making tremendous progress in a few areas especially in speech. He now says "Mama", "Dada", "Papa", "Baby" and "Nona/Nana". This is huge for us. I'm also happy to report that we are finally getting a speech therapist for him and I feel the timing couldn't be better. Our son wants to talk, he wants to work hard. I feel so lucky. Of course with the sweet we have the bitter.

The Bitter 

 While we have been seeing a lot of improvement in some areas especially speech we have encountered some new and worsening behavior. Mainly with Colton's tendency to self harm and cause harm to other people and animals. I'm not sure if this is due to the frustration of still not having the right words to be able to communicate wants/need/emotions etc. I'm sure they play a part in it. It's really hard to kind of have to admit that your child has a mean streak, a tendency for violent behavior. I'm desiring a behavioral therapist more now than ever. The other issues have been with our ongoing battle against our insurance company. 

Many of you who have been reading along probably remember how early on in this blog I explained that our insurance company does not cover anything related to autism. Yeah,nothing. Our son is only 2 1/2 and even trying to get "developmental delay" covered is a struggle. I have recently hooked up with WAAA which stands for Washington Autism Alliance And Advocacy. They have already felt like a godsend. I no longer feel so alone in this fight especially after learning from them that our insurance is violating federal laws by doing this. This only adds to my need to triumph over this problem not only for my son but for the children struggling presenting and the children of the future. Part of this battle for me will have to be in taking on my husband and I's work union. Turns out that even though it's a huge union no one has ever stepped up to the bargaining table to end this problem. It's truly hard to believe that there are no other people belonging to our same union that have not encountered this problem. Nevertheless I will not stop until it's resolved,whatever it takes I will do it. After all it has to do with my child and his medical needs! 

More Sweet 

I'd like to close with some more happy news because ending on a positive note is often best. I have recently starting getting more into my local autism community,I have already met so many incredibly strong and smart women who have filled me with comfort,hope and positive feelings. I highly recommend any of you out there reading this who may have only recently had their child diagnosed on the spectrum or have not yet actively sought out their local community/support groups to please do. The best resource and support we have is each other and I promise you while not everyone you will always meet will be like you,you will make some great connections and learn something new and helpful. I'm more excited now than ever to become as involved as I can be especially since it won't be long before Colton will have to get into the special education public school system. Thanks as always for reading and for your support! 

P.s. For more info about WAAA visit

Friday, October 25, 2013

Book Review: "Making Peace With Autism" By Susan Senator

"Making Peace With Autism" By Susan Senator 

As promised I am giving my review on this amazing book. It's safe to say that I believe every home with an autistic child should own one of these. Many of you out there like me have probably browsed or read many books related to autism but this one really stands out for me personally. I highly recommend it to those who have just began their journey but it's also a great read for anyone with a child on the spectrum and even friends,family members, and those who work with children on it. It's more like a memoir than a book filled with lots of information but I found many helpful tips and comforting relatable stories in it. Susan tells her stories in a frank,loving and sometimes funny way. Her journey is inspiring. Her use of "social story" type tools for her child are helpful and informative. Her tips and stories of making her marriage work are wonderful. Her stories of troubles with the school district are eye-opening. Honestly there isn't one bad thing I can say about this book. I can only encourage you to pick it up and start reading. She also has one called "The Autism Mom's Survival Guide" which I have just started,I will review that one as well when I am done. Again thanks for reading and for you support. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Some Coping Techniques And Some Tricks I've Found

Alleviating Issues 

 A few posts back I discussed the plethora of problems and emotions we as parents of autistic children are or may be facing. For tonight's post I would like to dissect these issues and share some things that have helped me and may possible help you. I think I will start with the "toughest", the emotional aspects. 

Exhaustion And Emotions 

I'll start with the anxiety: While there is no "cure-all" there are certainly a few ways to help you deal. Some of this may sound cheesy but a lot of it is pretty basic. It does help if you can get by yourself for a few minutes (even if it means taking a "time out" from your child,I find the bathroom can sometimes be the best place for me) and take lots of deep,timed,and relaxed breaths. Also I find that being able to vent to someone or something (such as this blog) can help tremendously. I like to call it "emotional vomiting". If you keep it all going around and around in your head all you will find is more anxiety,negativity and depression. I have some major issues in this department. I'm so naturally prone to anxiety. 

Fear: This is another one that is tough to deal with. Especially in the beginning (and I'm still in the beginning!). There are so many questions,so many "what ifs". Honestly the best advice I can give you is if it is a "reasonable fear" then I encourage you to seek out the answer,whether it be by your own research or by talking to a doctor,therapist etc. If they are more "unreasonable" then why not try to just shoot for what I call "short-term goals". If you are so obsessed with getting your child potty-trained and it's more feasible that your child learns to express "yes" and "no" then refocus your attention to the maybe easier and more important goal. I have discovered that this is pretty crucial. I could spend all day obsessing over what my son may or may not be able to achieve/do someday but I know that my focus needs to be on the present. Would it really change how you feel about your child? Probably not so do them and yourself a favor and focus on them and their current work towards certain goals. 

Exhaustion: This one is an emotion that I am sure we are all feeling,by being a parent in general not just a parent of a special needs child. Kids will wear you out. Having all the extra stress,anxiety etc. can just wear you out. I wish I had a "magic cure" for this but sadly I do not. My best advice is to ask for help. Maybe from a spouse,friend or family member. Sometimes we need a nap,we need a coffee trip,a bubble bath in a quiet house,a chance to read a book,to write,to catch up with friends. I guess this paragraph also can touch on the "social life" issue. While being able to have these resources or opportunities(I can't often!),surely you can at least try. I wish I had more to offer on this one since it seems to be a problem I face constantly and I'm sure a lot of you are as well. 

Feeling a lack of support: This one sounds easy but it can be tough. Ask for help,ask for them to educate themselves and keep trying. Chances are they won't work extremely hard to reach out to you so you have to just suck it up and either decided to cut some people out of your life or to fight to keep them in. Having a child with Autism may mean that some people could possibly drop out of your life or you may have to ditch them. Your child and his/her needs are a priority as it should be for any parent. Being a parent of a special needs child requires even more work and attention. If they don't understand and don't try to then they just aren't worth the worry. If they are someone you really want to keep in your life then as I said above: Try,Try,Educate. There's nothing wrong with that. 

Lack Of Affection,Marriage And "Comparison Game" 

Lack of affection:What works for me of course may not work for you but I have come to find that there are other ways to obtain the feeling of love and affection being reciprocated from my son. The main one is squeezing. It's no secret,lots of autistic children love the feeling of being squeezed whether it be by a tight hug or a gentle squeeze of the arm. In fact I decided to try this method based on other stories from parents of autistic children for whom it worked for. I was very pleased with the result. Colton loves being squeezed,I find that if I give him a really tight hug he will reciprocate and will also often ask for "Mo" (his way of saying "more"). I love it! I have also heard about "brushing" I am not educated or experienced enough to give my own opinion but I hear it works great even as a therapeutic tool. 

Marriage: Again it is a proven statistic that 80% of marriages that between parents of special needs children end in divorce.This is very alarming and discouraging.However I think there are a few good options out there. I haven't had to go as far as marriage counseling but I do hear it works well for couples who have reached a breaking point and who are at odds over how to raise their child or about the diagnosis itself. I personally think think that the best tool to use is to spend time together. This may not be easy to attain (my husband and I work opposite shifts and don't really have anyone to watch our son) but it can happen.You have to make it happen. Even if it means trying to have frequent phone calls,text messages or late night talks in bed. You can find at least a few minutes a day to connect. When I say "connect" I mean by taking time for each other that doesn't involve "autism talk",errand running or arguing. This can be tough to do since you have to make you child the center of everything,the main priority.I like to bring my husband dinners at his work or send him goofy text messages or remind him of inside jokes.These little things make a difference,it's how we still stay "us". 

"Comparison Game":This one simply can be overcome (at least for the moment) by instead of choosing to see what your child cannot do to chose to see what he/she can do,what they excel at. Every child has something they are good at.Many autistic children often are advanced in many areas their peers are not yet. For instance Colton can pick out all letter in the alphabet correctly,or the fact that he knows most all of his colors and can sort objects into groups by their color.I find these things amazing and wonderful and when I often find myself talking to other people about their child's development or they are asking about mine I choose to push aside the anger or depressed feelings and brag. Every parent brags about there child why can't we?! 

"Know It All" Doctors,Waiting Lists And Insurance Problems 

"Know It All" Doctors: This one can be conquered simply. Change doctors or insist that they listen to your appeals and intuition. I've come to find that if I educate myself before an appointment I get my point or goal across much more easily. If I know what doctor,therapist,neurologist and/or treatment plan I want I tell them flat out that I want a referral and this is who/where/what I want it to go to. Simple as that,if they don't listen then again just find a new doctor.Trust me you will go through many different people on this journey anyway. 

Waiting Lists: This one is not as easy.My best advice is to keep calling.Sometimes,albeit rarely they do have cancellations.While you may have to act quickly and re-order your schedule,do it. You may not have that opportunity again or even in the near future. How I ended up getting Colton into his initial evaluation at Children's Autism Center was by calling a number of times and at last I called and heard there was a cancellation. For the most part just make sure they are aware of you and your child.Have other facilities keep them up to date by faxing,mailing or e-mailing them reports or notes. It isn't easy but keep trying,it's for your child! 

Insurance Problems: This one is the toughest of all. Sometimes you may find a way to get help many other times you may not. As I have mentioned before our insurance does not cover anything "autism related" and we do not qualify for any state grants or programs. There are a few routes you can try: create a "GoFund Me" account or make a "benevolent" account at your local bank,share this information with friends,co-workers,and family. You may be surprised to find some people may offer help although don't expect too much,times are rough on everyone right now and that's also not the most important support you can receive from them. Try for hospital financial aid. We recently received approval from Children's hospital although this means it is only limited to anything we receive there it's at least something. Try to make extra money:you could take surveys on the internet,it won't net "fast money" but sometimes you can receive products to test and get paid for,we just recently finished a sippy cup one and will receive $75 dollars for it. You can also find "odd jobs" or do a garage sale.Anything helps and anything is worth trying. 

In Closing 

I hope some of the tips I have offered help some of you out there. This is a life-long journey and it will be full or "trial and error" but it's all worth it. The best thing we can do is keep our eyes on the goals,the achievements and the blessings. Currently I am reading a really good book called "Making Peace With Autism" by Susan Senator,I will review this when I am finished but I do recommend picking it up especially if you are at the beginning of your journey. I also would like to ask you who are reading and in a similar situation as me to share your thoughts,tips,and coping skills. The best resource we have is each other. Thanks as always for reading and for your support. I leave you with Coltons newest achievement,enjoy! :) 


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Sharing An Excellent Short Video

A Very Excellent Video Clip 


I just wanted to share this with all of you. I think it demonstrates how effective ABA therapy and early intervention can be. I can't wait to get Colton started on ABA! Also be sure to click "Follow" off to the side of this blog to keep up to date with us! Thanks again for your support!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Looking At The Positive

The Joys Of Autism 

Last night I focused on the difficulties many people face at raising a child on the spectrum. Tonight I would like to focus on the wonderful and amazing things that autism can bring. That my son brings to my life. 

He Is Rarely Boring 

Colton always seems to have something great and deep going on inside of his head. I love watching the "wheels spin", the way his eyes light up when he seems deep in thought. Colton is always doing something. Whether it's running around,yelling loudly,jumping,hand-flapping,dancing,even just shaking his foot repetitively. This boy is a mover and a shaker. He's fascinating to watch and it brings so much joy to me when I see him learning,creating,moving. 

The Boy Has Rhythm 

 No lie,Colton can move. He has amazing rhythm for a two year old,even for just a boy in general. I've watched him jump,clap and dance right on beat many many times. Along with his gift of rhythm he also seems to have quite an ear for music. I've discovered that he has the ability to hear "inside" of a song. There are beats and sound effects a somewhat semi neurotypical person as myself would easily miss but not my son. 

  An Amazing Memory 

Colton has an incredible memory. Take for instance when we take him to the doctor. As soon as we get within a foot or two of the parking lot he loses it. Of course that one can be tough but I also enjoy switching things around in the house,tiny miniscule things and watching him immediately get up in the morning and put everything back in order. You teach something to Colton one time like which letter is the letter A or which number is the number 2 and I guarantee you he will never forget. Colton may be basically non-verbal but at 2 years old he knew all of his colors,numbers 1 through 20 and every letter of the alphabet. It's pretty incredible. Of course I have no idea if he is a "genius" or not but to me that seems awfully good for a 2 year old on the spectrum or not. 

Intense Ability To Focus Deeply 

Colton looks over things such as toys,books,games,puzzles etc. with such intensity it's amazing. I can't focus on anything like that. He even looks over all of the boxes of food or drink packages we hand him as if he is checking the ingredients or nutritional values. I swear if Colton just had bigger hands and better fine motor skills I could hand him a lego set instruction booklet and he could create the model all by himself. Yeah I am being serious. When I watch him play a game on the ipad he gets higher scores than I am even able to! 

"Pattern Savant" 

You should see the unique ways Colton creates a design or pattern. In fact I do have just one example I have photographs of I will share them here in this post. Colton creates these "lines" and models of intrigue.If he lines up trains they always have a certain order,grouping and color co-ordination.It's pretty unique and he always has to have things "just so". I won't be surprised if he becomes a mechanic or engineer of some sort. Here's an example:the first picture is how I have these items set on my dresser everyday and the next are of what Colton does with them.It may not seem like much to you but he does this every day. Sure it may be a "ritual" of his but I know that it is a "pattern"(perhaps more of a "design model") he has dreamed up in his head. 
How I Have This Set Everyday

Coltons "Work"

Yes that is an adorable picture of him in the frame right? :)

Kind Of "In Closing" 

I could go on and on about the many beautiful and amazing things Colton does and how wonderful he is but that would be giving it all away at once right?! Plus he's only 2,imagine how much more I will learn from him,about him. I'm so excited for that,he has to be hands down the greatest teacher I have ever had. Some of you who may personally know me know that I'm not the most patient person in the world and that I can be almost neurotic about certain things but with Colton I find more and more calm in my life. It's not because I have to (although you kind of do) but because I can't help it. My only wish is for the world to see him and all the joy and intelligence he brings. Everyone believes their child is destined for amazing and big things. I know my son is. All he needs is the chance just as every child does. Thanks for reading and for all of your support!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Problems Many Autism Families Are Facing

Some Problems We Face 


I could in all honesty make this post pretty long. As with any challenge in life we face many obstacles dealing with it. Some small, others big. This is a "generalized" outline. Just as I have said before every child with autism is different and the same goes for every family unit involved. 

Insurance Problems 

 If you are one of the lucky ones who live in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin your insurance more than likely covers some if not most treatment options. If you live in Washington like me you are facing the fact that most insurance companies here do not and are not required to cover any percentage or treatment. And again if you are like me and have a two parent home with two small yet modest incomes you can forget getting any help from the state. To be fair we don't have it the worst. These states do not have specific insurance coverage mandates for autism spectrum disorder and either do not have a mental health parity law or that the mental health parity law does not include autism spectrum disorder as a covered mental illness:South Dakota and Wyoming.This more than likely could mean that there is actually not any option for these parents unless they can receive state benefits. It's downright scary. While I am not one who tends to accept this notion that there is an "epidemic" of autism,it should be recognized as a major enough condition to be allowed the same benefits as say bipolar disorder or major depression. We have a whole generation of children coming up who have been properly diagnosed or better yet they are getting diagnosed younger and younger so this should be enough to warrant a chance for these children(I am not ignoring the fact that there are many adults with autism who are experiencing this as well). 

Know It All Doctors 

If you again are like me you may have brought your concerns to your child's pediatrician and been brushed off. Too many general practice doctors and the like are not trained enough to recognize these signs. Maybe I'm being tough on them but I figure if you have an M.D. and can deliver a baby shouldn't you be trained to see symptoms or signs or better yet trust a mothers instinct? I still can't help but feel that when my son was 18 months old and we were sure that something was going on we should have gotten a proper referral. That would have made Colton's wait time so much shorter. That leads me to my next topic.

Waiting Lists 

Nothing is more frustrating than finally getting a referral or getting a diagnosis and seeking out treatment to be hit with huge wait list times. I've heard everything from 6 months to 2 years! When you read up on autism and the very positive and almost crucial effects that early intervention can have this is almost devastating. I'm really not sure how much I can give advice to these practices on shortening waiting periods but I do know that this is a huge obstacle to deal with! 

Your Marriage Or Single Parent Life 

 This one is pretty obvious. Statistically 80% of marriages between parents of an autistic child end in divorce. When you are dealing with a child who is like mine and requires almost constant attention this can cause your other relationships to go by the sideline. That being said I cannot even begin to imagine what the single parents out there are dealing with. I cannot imagine tackling this all on my own. These parents must be some really strong people and I have the upmost respect for them. 

Your Social Life 

I suppose this can also include extended family life. Imagine all your friends or family getting together to spend some quality time or even have playdates. This is an almost impossible thing for myself personally to enjoy. Now imagine that you have a child who refuses to let you "visit" with others or even let you sit still for two minutes. Also imagine that your child is afraid of just about everything in the surrounding and even the people present. Imagine that they are either whining,yelling,humming,or crying pretty frequently. Yeah doesn't usually make people want to invite you to things. Also doesn't make you want to try to go through the battle of even attempting to. Imagine feeling like you feel that you need to warn people about your child and how things may be. None of that sounds very fun does it? 

The "Comparison" Game

Now I do not like admitting it but I know I can't be alone in this thought but I am guilty of comparing my child to other children his age..often. It can be painful to watch other children tell their parents "I love you" or even simpler "I want that". I hate every time I hear a parent tell someone else "I wish they would be quiet for two minutes". Hey I just wish my son could ask for milk, I wish my son would ask me "Why" over and over again. They always tell us not to play this "comparison" game but I think every parent not just parents of autistic children are guilty of this. It's hard to watch my son be unable to "scoop" buckwheat with a small bowl at co-op preschool or join in on "imitation songs" during circle time while I watch every other child there do them. I try my hardest not to do this especially since I have recently begun to feel like my son has started to realize he is different and seems to feel more detached from the world. 

Lack Of Affection 

This may be true for some and not for others. For me it is pretty true which of course hurts. I remember nursing my son when he was  little and trying to catch his eyes or stroke his skin. He absolutely hated it. When he had colic I tried warm "skin to skin" baths or "baby massage",again he couldn't stand it. Many times when I ask for hugs or kisses I'm either rejected or I get his back turned when he does get close. When my son gets a "boo boo" he refuses to even let me "kiss and make it better". How does one fight their motherly intuitions? I'm pretty sure it's impossible. We all know our children love us,it's just in their own way.Not the way I was hoping but it won't stop me from trying. I can only hope that those rare moments it seems like he may be trying to show affection will become more frequent in time but either way I love him and I know he loves me. 

Feeling A Lack Of "Support" 

Before I begin this paragraph I would like to mention that I have been blessed to have some great people in my life who are very supportive. That being said I think those of you out there like me know that it isn't really quite as much or even the way we would like it to be. When first telling some people about our son we were met with a lot of "rationalization" or "well all kids do this or that" or the dreaded "well we all must be because that's "typical". I try to see it from these persons' points of view,most people do not want to be negative or even "realistic". The fact of the matter is that we as parents know our children best. We spend the largest amounts of time with them. I think this particular issue only really bothers me because as a parent I feel like I'm being made to feel that I don't know my own child. That I'm not experienced enough. That I am over-reacting. Obviously none of those things make me feel that great,or supported. Yes everyone is certainly entitled to their own opinion but I'm under the belief that when it comes to parenting no one knows anything more than the next because all of our children are so different,autistic or not. I also believe that sometimes opinions shouldn't be spewed out if it's a touchy subject unless of course they have been asked for. It can totally leave one feeling a lack of support. 

Another unfortunate way is to "distance" yourself away from the "problem". It kind of hurts when you tell close ones that you're going through a struggle and they don't seem to make much of an attempt to check in and see how you and your child are doing or to offer help.Or better yet to not even try and educate themselves about autism and the spectrum. Yes that may sound "self-righteous" or that I expect people to just drop their lives to help mine. I want to make it clear that yes while it would be nice for me it's really more for my son that I'm desiring it. I want my son to feel like he can take on the world because he's got this big blanket of love and support around him. People who are trying to "understand" him or just simply enough be involved with him. I mean isn't that what every parent wants? I enjoy hearing about these villages that really do come together to raise children. It's too bad we can't adopt that way of life here. I'm under the belief that we should be a world for children, to take the best care we can of the next generation aka the generation who will potentially take care of us. The generation who will raise our grandchildren,become our doctors etc. It's a lot of work to become a part of Coltons "world" but I have to tell you once you are invited in it is such a wonderful place. I enjoy learning from my son and trying to see things his way. I guess I just wish more people wanted to and perhaps in time they will.

Emotions And Exhaustion 

I figure I would save the most obvious for last. Raising children in general can be tiring and full of emotions. Being the parent of a special needs child is like taking that first notion and multiplying it by oh say one hundred times! Ah the exhaustion:there are so many great things about my son so please don't take this as "complaining" or that I take my son for granted. Again the reason behind this post is just to share some of the struggles. For me personally my day includes lots of fun with my son and joy but that being said I'm have to estimate that more than sixty percent of our day includes whining,tantruming,crying,biting/hitting/kicking and of course the moments where Colton completely "shuts down". Whew just thinking about all that makes me exhausted. Yes a lot of those are common among this age range,the frequency however, are not. It's almost like an evolved version of infant colic but now it's (for me anyway) a 30 pound boy who can now express himself "physically". 

The other part:emotions. While I kind of previously outlined some such as: devastation by lack of insurance,extreme concern over waiting lists, and the pained feeling of the lack of affection there are also some other that should be noted. 

The depression: from the first time you heard the diagnosis to the realization that your child may not be doing or even be able to ever do all of the things you were imagining. The feeling of loneliness or isolation. The hurt that you feel for your child. None of these things are easy. 

The anxiety: Will he ever get married? Will he have kids? Will they be autistic? Will he go to a normal school? Will he go to school on time or be held back? Tie his own shoelaces? Talk? Yes these are just some of the questions you may worry over and while of course there is no sense in worrying so early on, it doesn't mean that we won't do it. Heck, I'm a natural "worrywart"! 

The fear: How will we pay for this? How will other people accept our son? Will they accept him? Will they accept the autism (or even autism diagnosis)? How will they treat him or us? All parents worry about things like their children being accepted or respected. For me personally I worry about how much more this may make my son a target for bullying,abuse and feelings of major depression.

In Closing 

If you actually read this very long one,thank you! I know that this may make me out to look very negative or too opinionated but hey it is my blog right?! There are so many positive and wonderful things about having a child on the spectrum. Never fear I will make a post just for those things here soon. Now in closing I would like to leave you with a pretty good article that reverberates much of what I have written here. Enjoy and as always thank you for your support! P.s. Check the pictures at the end! :)  

Parents of children with autism: We struggle alone


 Her day might begin at 2 or 3 in the morning, when her 9-year-old autistic daughter, Ashlyn, wakes up next to her. And from that moment on, Jackie Polvado's life is a full-out sprint.
"Ashlyn still sleeps with me because it's the only way we can get any sleep. But I've been up day and night, like when my daughter was up for 48 hours, screaming," said Polvado of Keller.
"It's exhausting, and there's no end in sight."

For families with children with autism spectrum disorders - a range of developmental disabilities that cause social, communication and behavioral problems - each day can be emotionally overwhelming, stress-filled and isolating.

Family and friends shy away. The child's behavior can leave parents prisoners, trapped at home. If they venture out, passers-by stare, wondering why the child isn't under control.
"Sometimes, the parents think they're admitting failure when they ask for help," said Shanel Tarrant-Simone, the single mother of twin 10-year-old autistic sons. " 'I'm the parent; I should know how to deal with it.'"But no parent is equipped to do this."

And while neither of these moms could imagine hurting their children, they can begin to understand the hopelessness Saiqa Akhter may have felt when she allegedly killed her two children in Irving last month, or how overwhelmed a single mother in New York was to kill her 12-year-old autistic son and then herself.
"People on Facebook were very quick to say, 'Oh my God, how could she do this?' But I say, how did she get to that point?" said Tarrant-Simone of Frisco. "The isolation and hopelessness - I've felt them."

Still, nothing can excuse what these women did, Polvado said.
"The resources are there - there aren't enough of them, and they cost money, but there is help," she said.
But day in, day out, many families with autistic children say they struggle on alone.

"We don't have other friends coming and offering to babysit our children," said Clay Boatright of Plano, with wife Carole the parents of three daughters, including autistic 10-year-old twins. "They don't have friends inviting them over for sleepovers. What we have is people saying, 'Wow, that must be tough.' "

Years of waiting

Unfortunately, the number of ASD cases is soaring. Statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say almost 1 percent of children have autism or another ASD. Diagnoses in Texas increased 400 percent in the past 10 years, a trend that has officials searching for ways to teach affected students - and pay for it with the state facing a budget shortfall of up to $18 billion.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people with developmental disabilities in Texas spend years waiting for assistance.
"We're at 300-and-something now," said Tarrant-Simone, "and we've been on the list for five years."

Boatright said it takes about eight years on average to get to the top of an assistance list, depending where you live in Texas.
Dr. Catherine Karni, an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas and medical director of the outpatient clinic at Children's Medical Center Dallas, said some of the increase can be explained by a broader definition of the autism spectrum, which includes Asperger's syndrome, Rett syndrome and childhood disintegrative disorder.
"So you have severely autistic children and others with something that doesn't show the full symptoms of autism," Dr. Karni said. "You have more people." More awareness of autism and better diagnostic tools also increase the numbers.
"But most likely, there is an increase in prevalence. We don't know how much, or why. We believe there is a genetic component - all the research points to that, and this tends to aggregate in families," she said.

Some speculate that environmental pollution can be a contributor. Others blame childhood immunizations, though research hasn't shown any clear correlation, Dr. Karni said. Certain metals that used to be a part of vaccines have been removed, but cases of autism continue to increase.

With the causes unclear, there is no cure. "We have different treatments. We have behavioral treatments. We use medications in psychiatry that might help with specific symptoms," Dr. Karni said. "But they don't cure autism."

Early diagnosis:critical

Early diagnosis and treatment are currently the best ways to bring improvements, Dr. Karni said.
"Our clinic goes down to 12 months of age, because the earlier the diagnosis and intervention, the better the result," she said.
"It's a small window of opportunity - a child's first five years - because of the plasticity of the brain at that age," she said. "After the fifth year, the results are not as good."
But getting an early diagnosis can be difficult.
Tarrant-Simone's sons were born prematurely, but were home within 11 days and showed all the normal signs of progress except for speaking.

"At 12 months, it just wasn't coming along," she said. But when she pointed it out to their pediatrician, she was told, "They're boys; they're preemies." "You're a mom - you know something is wrong with the child," she said, "but they were doing all this other stuff - smiling, laughing, interacting with each other. So a lot of the concerns I raised were just swept under the rug."

Polvado's daughter was social, too, and developmentally advanced. She had no problems with language. "Her first word was 'cat,' " her mom said. But there were mild signs at an early age - she hated the sound of laughter, even as an infant.

"Then it was a slow progression," Polvado said. "She started obsessing on eating only certain foods. And her language was slowing down. It wasn't functional. She could say 'cat,' 'dog,' 'shoe,' but she would never say 'juice' because she was thirsty. "I knew something was wrong and asked my pediatrician about it, and he said don't worry about it. Everyone said nothing was wrong."

The American Academy of Pediatrics has worked over the last few years to educate pediatricians on ASDs, Dr. Karni said.
"Obviously, a child who doesn't talk may have other things, too, so it isn't easy to make this diagnosis," she said. "The important thing is to send the child to specialists. Pediatricians need to have their antenna up and refer these cases."But if that doesn't happen, she said, parents need to find services on their own.

'Happy and healthy'

Even if the diagnosis comes too late for early intervention, parents like Boatright believe that appropriate kinds of education can provide the life skills their children need."As kids are diagnosed and progress through the school system, we need to identify what their true skills and talents are," Boatright said. "What are their strengths? What do they like to do? How can that be enhanced and made marketable?"

The need for proper programs is a national issue that needs immediate attention, said Rita Shreffler of Nixa, Mo., executive director of the National Autism Association.
"Almost 1 percent of the kids in this country have autism," she said, "so what do we do?
"A study a few years back said the lifetime cost of care for individuals who need round-the-clock help is $3.2 million," she said. "I don't think people realize that 1 in 110 children or even more have an ASD, and they're coming of age. So it's important that we find treatment."Otherwise, this will fall to the taxpayers, at $3.2 million each."

Naturally, the future hangs most heavily on the parents of autistic kids.Will there be a cure someday? Who will care for their child when they are gone? Can the child find friendship, happiness?
"I have a motto in my life: There's no such thing as false hope," said Polvado, who with her husband, Lamarque,publishes a magazine called Connections Kids to provide a list of available services. "I hope for the best. I hope Ashlyn will recover and find her dream job, get married and have children. That's always going to be my hope. "Then, of course, there's reality. The reality is we may not achieve that. So we take it day-by-day, hour-by-hour. I'm hoping for recovery, I'm working for recovery. But if in 10 years she can function but needs assistance, I'm OK with that.
"I just want Ashlyn to be happy and healthy." 


•Roughly 1 percent of children in the United States - 1 in 110 - have an autism spectrum disorder, with developmental disabilities running from slight to severe.
•ASDs occur in children of all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups, but disorders are four to five times more likely in boys than girls.
•Studies of identical twins show that if one has an ASD, the other will be affected 60 percent to 96 percent of the time. In nonidentical twins, if one has an ASD, the other is affected 0 percent to 24 percent of the time.
•Parents who have a child with an ASD have a 2 percent to 8 percent chance of having another affected child.
•A 2009 report showed that 41 percent of children with an ASD also had an Intellectual Disability - an IQ of 70 or below.
•About 40 percent of children with an ASD don't talk at all, and an additional 25 percent to 30 percent have some words at 12 to 18 months of age and then lose them. Others may speak, but not until later in childhood.
•On average, medical expenses for someone with an ASD are about five times higher than for those without an ASD.

SOURCE: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Many websites offer information on ASDs, from support groups and service providers to age-specific information that could help indicate whether a child has a disorder.
U.S. Centers for Disease Control: ncbddd/autism/index.html
Autism Society of America:
Collin County Chapter:
First Signs: