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Monday, April 10, 2006

Now your just showing off!

Okay, I was aware that Brandon had a few more verbal skills than other toddlers his age...But, at the age of 22 months he can count 1-12 in english and spanish? Yep.. You can imagine our surprise when he blurted out; uno, dos , tres, and so-on until he skipped 10 and went stright to eleven and tweleve.....Dora has taught him alot, so has Blues Clues... yes I admit my Kiddo is a T.V.-holic! He enjoys watching his 5yr old brother watch T.V. and I guess he has picked up a few things? Not to mention he knows 9 different colors and has letter reconition....Chris taught him that stuff... Never knew he knew what pink was until he got home from his grandmothers house! .... He doesn't understand blue... to him it's azul.. you guessed it, more spanish :)

Don't get me wrong I am not trying to show off at all! Honest! It just amazes me how kids his age are like little sponges. Hillard (my 5yr old) is autistic, and his toddler yrs were very different form others. He was our first child so we had no clue what he should and shouldn't be doing... His obsessive habits, the constant meltdowns, no eye contact, now I actually have an idea how serious his situation was, and still is!

This month is Autism Awareness month...And I would like to share our story with you:

Hillard was 14 months old when I began to worry that he wasn't progressing like he should. His cousin (Thomas) was only 4 months younger than him and began to point and speak simple words... We thought Hillard is just running a little behind and he will grow in his own time.. 16 months rolls around and still his meltdowns were worse and still nothing! I brought him to our Ped.Dr. and she said we should wait until he is 2 to take any action. That was absolutely unacceptable in my book, we dropped her like a hot potato!
I thought maybe Hillard needed contact with childern his age (I was a stay at home mom) so I got a job at a local day care and signed him up! Oh it just got worse! He had no interest in his peers and just sat in the corner by himself and did repetitve behaviors that we now know is "stimming"... The teachers obsereved that he maybe deaf because he didn't respond to their voices..He was almost 2 yrs old and still didn't know his own name ..I knew he wasn't deaf because if he heard something he liked 3 rooms away he went running! He was sooooo different from all the other children, it was painfully obvious that something wasn't right.

I accepted something was wrong is when Hillard stopped dancing... I am tearing up as I write this part.. Hillard always responded to music by dancing, and one day he just stopped. He had slipped away.
I knew Chris was ready to accept something was wrong when we visited my sisters house and Thomas smiled and looked at his dad and pointed to the moon and said "MOON!" Richard (Thomas's father) smiled and said "yes, your right thats the moon!".... The sadness in my husbands face crushed me!
These two moments will always live forever in my mind.....And I cry evertime I think of them.

Hillard never acknowledged the world around him.. If a bird flew by, he didn't notice, if a plane was flying above he didn't notice....He just didn't seem to care about the bustling world around him.. He was missing that part of his brain that makes toddlers want to learn! And that was just the begining... He started developing typical "Autistic Characteristics" as he grew older, and still to this day.
Hillard is now in a great autism program with our local public school district and is doing well... He is still considered non-verbal because his speech is still spuratic and minimal. He is very smart and does a few savant things with letters and numbers. He has always given big bear hugs and always likes to smile.....

We will be taking him to a new doctor for Autism this summer in Baton Rough LA and look forward to what she might say.

I didn't want to focus too much on the bad behaviors in this story b/c they are very depressing and I can't afford to get down... We as a family have tried to stay positive and happy, it is our only defense against this horrible disorder.

If you want more information about Autism please give these websites a look-see :) This first one is my favorite.. it is an ESPN commercial and it make me and Chris cry every time we see it.

ESPN Commercial

Surfers Healing


More info


Blogger Sarah said...

Thanks for the post!

I can only imagine how tough the diagonisis was on your family.

We all want our children to be "perfect".

Hugs to you!

10:35 AM  
Blogger inukshuk71 said...

It is a mother's right to boast about her children so boast away :)

I noticed a poster in the elevator to my watercolour painting class Saturday morning. There was an art exhibition and awareness capaign for Autism month on the third floor. I wanted to have a look see and completely forgot when I left. I hope it will still be there next week.

I think it's so important to talk about the issues that are important to us and get everyone around us to understand them. I congratulate you on your opnenness and confidence.

You seem to have a wonderfully close and loving family, and have every right to be proud of both your special boys. Love is the greatest strength and you seem to have oodles of it. I hope the new doctors will help you help Hillard come into bloom.

Best wishes,


10:37 AM  
Blogger amylovie said...

Thank you for sharing that with us Catherine.


12:32 PM  
Blogger Crazy Colorado Knitter said...

My youngest brother* is, as they say, "on the spectrum". It's been hard on my mom... she took a long time before admitting to herself that there was something wrong with him; I think he was in Kindergarten when she finally admitted it.

She got him help, and it worked well for a while... but the improvements in him didn't happen until after she divorced my stepdad (the jerk) and he didn't have to deal with the stresses of his environment as much. (I know that's not part of your son's issues, as your writing shows that you both love him very much.)

He's entering high school next year, and is mainstreamed in several of his subjects... something that many people didn't think would happen.

There is hope, and there is help. :)

*I'm the oldest of 5 kids, and have 4 younger brothers.

12:39 PM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

I found you through Wendy/Spaazlicious. You were her spoiler, and I was her spoilee. Anyway, it's such a coicidence, b/c my 6-year old son is autistic. Today was a really tough day - found out that he didn't get into a camp for autistic kids at Vanderbilt University b/c they don't consider him to be high functioning enough. I've been wondering what to do for Autism Awareness Month on my blog, and you've inspired me to share Hayden's story. Most people who read my blog know about him already, but I've never shared our background. Hope you don't mind a copycat.

3:44 PM  
Blogger Shez75 said...

Sounds like you have a wonderful, loving family, and, I know it must be tough. It comes thru loud and clear that you have a couple of terrific kids, and one super husband. Thanks for sharing your story and if you ever need a shoulder, I'm only an e-mail away.
Sheri in GA

5:21 PM  
Anonymous Christine said...

Thanks for being such a giving and caring person. Hillard is a beautiful child regardless! Thanks for the additional information!

6:09 PM  
Anonymous wendy g said...

What a touching post and I know it was hard for you to write. Thanks for sharing.

8:29 PM  
Blogger candsmom said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. I can only imagine how challenging the past few years have been. At the same time, Hillard sounds like a gentle and beautiful soul- those hugs and smiles must be the best thing in the world!! It sounds like he's in a wonderful program, and most importantly, he has such a wonderful and nurturing mom in you. Hugs to you and take care! :-)

8:36 PM  
Blogger Mom (a.k.a. Mary Ann) said...

You are so open and giving to share that story. I know that life with Brandon has given you some sense of grace and caring. I can see that in you.

6:58 AM  
Blogger kmckiernan said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. What you've said has really come from the heart and I feel to special to be a part of it.

1:50 PM  
Blogger spaazlicious said...

Good for you (& Stephanie) for posting and sharing awareness. Personal stories are important to "put a face on a disorder" and I think it's important to show autism in children because people generally have a media-eye view, what with Rain Man and high functioning autistic characters (or those with Asperger's) portrayed on tv with Holmesian type knowledge and discernment of patterns. It starts to look a little like cartoonish OCD. They don't see the full spectrum of behaviours and it's never good when people have a media-produced eye of anything anyway. Of course, with the numbers being what they are that should change with time as people realise more and more just how many people they know areliving with autism.

Oh, and thanks for linking to the commercial, you owe me a tissue. ;P

2:19 PM  
Blogger Stricken madchen said...

Thanks for sharing your story. It's often so hard to discuss our kids disabilities. It's amazing too how among the pain, we experience new joys in a way we never did before. ;-)

7:42 PM  
Anonymous Suzanne said...

Thank you for sharing Catherine and I'm amazed by your little ones skills.

7:02 AM  
Blogger Sheryl said...

Thanks for the story. Awareness is needed. My dear friend is now raising her 2 grandchildren, one of whom is autistic and in a special school in Rosenberg. I teared up as I read your story as it made me think how I would have felt if that were Cheyanne. Love you, sweetie! I am so thrilled for Hilliard's progress - God has given him special gifts and a special purpose.

8:27 AM  
Blogger Wool Winder said...

Thanks for sharing your story. It's helpful to learn about Autism. Those of us that aren't around it, know very little of the challenges that you face everyday. Sounds like you are doing a good job with keeping things positive and happy. Blessings to your whole family.

6:57 AM  

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