The month of April is Autism Awareness month. About 1 in 88 children have been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. That is a staggering number! It is likely that you know someone who has been personally affected, or you have been affected yourself, so we wanted to take this opportunity to allow several local moms to share their stories and how their lives has been touched by this disorder. This is Katie and Brayden’s story…
When Brayden was born he was very ill. He wasn’t breathing at birth, and both of us had an infection from miconium.
I remember a wave of people in yellow jackets stormed into my birthing room. I laid there in shock as my dream of a perfect birth flew out of the window. My son wasn’t breathing, my husband fainted, I passed out as my baby was pushed to the NICU. Brayden has a major infection and a hole in his lung.
Despite all this, he recovered nicely and we went home 5 days later.
Brayden was hitting every milestone and growing up so fast! I remember catching him spinning wheels on toys and always looking at stuff out of the corner of his eye. I mentioned these to his doctor and she said “He’s fine! There aren’t many cases of autism in VT. It’s mostly in the central part of the US.”
I remember leaving that appointment thinking something wasn’t right. After switching doctors Brayden was referred to a speech therapist as he wasn’t speaking at 2yr old level. We participated in speech therapy for almost a year and Brayden was making incredible gains.
Still something was right. Our pediatrician noticed as well and referred us to the CDC.
November 1, 2011 we walked in the front door of the CDC. Brayden played and interacted with the therapist. They did a lot of imaginary play with him. This skill didn’t come naturally to Brayden and that was a red flag for these therapist. After deliberation they called us back in.
My son was diagnosed with autism. My heart sank! I knew nothing about this “label” and I didn’t know how to help him. I felt helpless! I cried for days.. I spent the weekend at a woman’s retreat with my church. I spent a lot of time thinking and realized that Brayden may have autism but Brayden isn’t autism. This diagnosis did not change my fun, energetically, happy loving boy!
We started Brayden in the EEE program in 2012. Within six months we saw HUGE changes. Our son was talking, playing pretend and cultivating friendships with peers. Brayden still has a long way to go but I say all of this to say that an autism diagnosis isn’t an end all.
Early intervention is key! Children are amazingly resilient and can “come through the window” with the correct help and therapy. I wouldn’t change anything we have been through with Brayden. We have learned so much about ourselves as parents and about him! He is an absolutely incredible child. He connects with people on a level most kids don’t take the time to cultivate. Children with autism are so special. I can’t even explain how blessed I am to have the son God chose for me! 🙂
[typography font=”Delius Swash Caps” size=”24″ size_format=”px”]Written by Katie[/typography]
My name is Katie. I’ve been married to my best friend and high school sweet heart Drew for seven years. We have two boys Brayden (4) Jake (2) and our golden retriever Sadie. I’m a stay at home mom and thirty one consultant. I love my jobs! In my spare time I like shopping, spending time outside, traveling, and my newest hobby running! (I’m hoping I like this one as much as I like the previously mentioned!)