Before my middle son was diagnosed with autism, I only had one reference of autism and that was the movie, "Rain Man". Well, my son has some of those characteristics but when he was a baby a lot of them looked like normal baby stuff that he would eventually grow out of. When he didn't speak at 15 months, we finally realized that something was wrong. He only played with his Hot Wheels cars while laying on the floor. He also flapped his hands when really excited. We didn't realize that he didn't answer to his name but had several people ask if he could hear. We knew he could hear because he would listen to certain things very purposely. He, however, didn't ever look or answer to his name. Brandt was diagnosed with autism at the age of 20 months. We did as much as we could for him by going through public school. At the time, none of the therapies that he needed were covered by insurance. Most people cannot afford the intense 40 hour a week therapy that kids like Brandt need.
Brandt is still non-verbal but is working towards using a communication device. We are hopeful about it but he has such a hard time focusing for any length of time on the pictures. We hope that someday he will be able to fill us in on what exactly he is thinking. He is a precious little boy and he shows his love without speaking it. Contrary to some beliefs, many autistic kids are very affectionate. Our son is one of those boys. He loves hugs and sometimes kisses. :) We love to see him be mischievous because that lets us know that he understands things. He waits until we(or his teachers) aren't looking and then does things he knows he's not supposed to do. Yes, sometimes, he does things that typical kids wouldn't do at his age and this is when we as a family and others just like us need a little bit of understanding. He doesn't understand that a 7 year old boy shouldn't scream when he's out in public. He gets overwhelmed by too many people and since he can't verbalize that, he does what a small baby or child would do. This is why I have become passionate about autism awareness. My boy isn't being naughty or bratty when he's throwing a fit on the ground. He's trying to communicate to us without words.
Now, that you know a very condensed version of my son's autism, I will tell you about the Autism Awareness items I have for sale. For every item on this page(except my beautiful son, LOL) that is purchased, I am going to be making a 10% donation to the Autism Society of America and 10% donation to my local chapter through our annual Puzzle Walk. I have been a volunteer for the walk for the last several years and have met many fantastic kids and passionate parents. Our local chapter holds many community activities for our kids where they don't have to worry about being weird or quirky. We also don't have to worry about those pesky meltdowns. The group has been a blessing in our lives even if we don't always get to participate. I will be making my first donation at the end of April.
The key fobs below are personalized for you. They are $8 plus shipping. If you're local, they can be picked up from me. The t-shirts above are $16.50 plus shipping. I can also make custom shirts with the autism ribbon and your child's name. If you would like a custom shirt for the local walk/5k run, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll work with you. You can also check out my facebook page for more examples of my work.
Thanks so much for checking out my blog!