Wednesday, April 2, 2008

"Na Na"

Na Na, is what I am called by my very special friend Ben. I am not talking about wedding stuff tonight, well sort, kinda, maybe a little later in this post. I am going to talk about something that I am passionate about, autism awareness. I have done ABA therapy with a child by the name of Ben. I have been with him since he was 5 and now he is 15. He is like having my own child, that lives with someone else. I have watched Ben change over the years, from a child that would not touch me or look at me, to a child that is now totally obsessed with hugging me. Ben is so smart, he reads, does math, does sign language and over the past few month he has grown leaps and bounds in his speech. Ben when first diagnosed was listed as severe on the autism spectrum, but his diagnosis has changed over the years as he has progressed. I truly believe that Ben has grown so, with the help of all his, his mother believing in his ability, therapist pushing him to learn and the wheat free, gluten free, casein free, dairy free diet that he is on. Once he started the diet, he was able to focus and his learning really began.

Ben has a great sense of humor, beautiful blue eyes and a great laugh. Ben helps me learn to appreciate the simple things, because a lot of times it hard to remember that with all of life's issues.

According to the
Autism Society of America, autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a "spectrum disorder" that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. 1 in every 150 American children, and almost 1 in 94 boys are diagnosed with autism somewhere on the spectrum. Autism is treatable. Children do not "outgrow" autism, but studies show that early diagnosis and intervention lead to significantly improved outcomes.

Since it is Autism Awareness month, several TV shows will be having specials about autism, like "Autism: the musical" on
HBO and CNN programming will focus on various topics on related to autism.

Ben has been in previous therapist wedding where he was the flower boy. Which was perfect for him at that time because picking up and watching the flower petals hit the ground was a sensory experience for him. Since he already had practice I was thinking, he could be the flower boy in my wedding. I was overruled, by Ben's mom and Chuck, they both said that he is a little to big for that now. He is now an usher and is going to hand out programs at my wedding. We will have to practice this so that he does not take the programs back from the guest after he gives them to them.

I think that many people, forget that these children are just that children. They have hopes and dreams like the rest of us, but may need assistance with on how to get to accomplish their dreams. My hope for Ben is to have a full life of doing the things that he wants to do. I want him to be able to live on his own, with assistance, go to a job, continue taking swim class, loving to eat a potatoes, playing his Playstation, obsessing about a topic and continue to see all the movies that he wants to see. I want him to continue to make me watch Power Rangers with him, making me look through the movie ads to tell me that he can not see R rated movies, to tell me that he is going to bed at 9:00 pm on the weekends and to continue to give me hugs and kisses every time I come to see him. These things and for so much more is why I love Ben. He will always be apart of my life

1 comment:

kristi said...

I have a son with Autism, I watch and read everything I can to learn more ways to help my son.