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Trenton's Battles

I always wanted to be a mother to boys. God blessed me with two amazing boys, Trenton and Andrew, both whom have a diagnosis of autism. When my sons were born, it was by far the best day of my life. However, I had no idea at that time what our life as a family had in store for us.

My oldest son, Trenton, has severe autism. He is a 4 ½ year old boy who is not potty trained and remains non-verbal. He suffers every day from autism. He is trapped in a body that brings a life full of tribulations. I have spent countless, sleepless nights with him when his body did not allow him to sleep. I have driven my car for several hours at a time in the middle of the night with him strapped in his car seat screaming and hitting himself in order to calm him down. I have been hit, kicked, scratched, spit at, hair pulled, screamed at and almost anything else that you would never imagine your child doing to you. I have had it done. I have bounced him on a therapy ball for over 5000 bounces consecutively. I have pushed him in his swing while he was crying for what seemed hours at a time. I have battled meltdown after meltdown.

Trenton spends seven hours a day five days a week in ABA. Autism has left him with nothing but a huge fight for the rest of his life. I have been there every minute of the way with him. I don’t give up. I only get stronger! Trenton drives me to be the best mother-advocate that I can be. I have seen him at his worst and it only makes us stronger as a team.

Angela Conrad
Terre Haute, IN

Loving Alejandro: The Music of our Rainbow

Many times I have felt that my life can be divided in two; but I now realized that if this is true, and if it exists a point in my life that cut it in half, this could be when I started to live in the autism spectrum. I say “I started to live in” because, even though I am not the one who has autism, my life and the way I see the world had changed tremendously. Now I live in a musical rainbow.

In 2013, after many months of tests, the doctor confirmed the autism diagnosis for our son Alejandro. It was a very difficult morning; full of frustration, and deep sadness. The confirmation of his diagnosis was something scary, that made me feel really sad and hopeless. At that time, Autism meant to me an incurable illness that was going to live with my son forever, and that was going to make his life very difficult.

More than two years later, things have changed a lot! Alejandro already finished his physiotherapy, 2 cycles of ABA, and a 12 weeks program including OT and speech therapy. He is still nonverbal, but he is working hard to communicate with us. He also attends a wonderful daycare, with loving teachers and he is on the waiting list for IBI therapy.

A couple of weeks ago, at the same doctor’s office, I realized that Autism doesn’t scare me anymore! I admit that I get mad at it sometimes, but it’s ok, it’s part of the package. It is just a matter of coloring one day at a time; listening to his own music and forgetting about conventional milestones; learning to be patient, pushing when needed and celebrating his efforts and progress; promoting awareness with inclusion and obviously, taking some mama time to enjoy a glass of wine on Friday nights to recharge.

Sometimes I think that life presented to me this colorful spectrum to teach me that I need to slow down and really appreciate the music on people and the colors of the world around me... to be more humane.

Sofia Prada
Ottawa, ON, Canada

Take a Stand Against Bullying!

Kelsey is a 4th grade special education student with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (autism spectrum). She is also a pageant queen who has 28 current local and state titles. Kelsey was adopted from a Russian orphanage when she was 14 months old. Kelsey was the victim of relentless bullying when she was in the 1st grade while weighing only 40 pounds and standing less than three feet tall. She came home daily with physical bruises and emotional scars. Fortunately for Kelsey, she has a support network of family members, friends, teachers, coaches and other parents who fought back against this injustice. Starting in second grade, she has been in a supportive environment that welcomes diversity and the value of every individual, including students with special needs. Kelsey has thrived. In addition to pageants, she is involved in dance, gymnastics, regional swim team, and a cheerleading show team. She is also one of the youngest children in the country to have received an award from the Kohl's Kids Care Scholarship Program which recognizes young people who made a difference in their community. Kelsey's pageant platform is "special needs means special abilities - the importance of self-advocacy for individuals with developmental disabilities". She believes that individuals with disabilities can achieve great things in life and make a tremendous positive difference in the lives of others. When she grows up, she wants to be a role model for others and start her own charitable foundation that will support children with special needs.

Carol Norris
Bonaire, GA


When I was born my parents thought I was fine, then I turned 2 and started having developmental delays (not doing things a 2 year old does), so I was evaluated, and I got a helper in the areas that were needed. I stared kindergarten at public school, and stayed there till 2nd, then my parents switched me to a charter school (which I still HATE), called Oakstone Academy where I am now thriving, and I have still made NO friends:( (I am just not social at school). I am a junior, and I have a non paying internship (with our's direction's program, in the bakery). I tutor in a kindergarten class twice a week, I have grown to love charity, I have 15,000 service hours, I do school and community theatre, I go to a jewish sleep-away camp for 8 weeks in the summer, and I have a boyfriend. I am obsessed with Dancing With the Stars, I watch it weekly with my grandparents. I love being around others. It might not always be easy road, but NEVER give up. Look where I am now. I kept with it and stride for everything I can. I don't let autism define or hold me back. I embrace it, and I hope others do the same.

Columbus, OH

Our Journey with Jake

Jake is an energetic, funny and loving 6 year old boy. From the moment he was put in my arms I knew something different. For the first year of his life I kept asking friends, family and doctors if he seemed alright. Because Jake is my 4th child, I knew in my heart that there was something unique about him. At 18 months my husband and I decided to have him evaluated by our local Early Intervention Services. The evaluation was unsettling at best. We found that he was developmentally delayed in ALL areas. At 18 months he was more like a 6 month old. We started Speech and Developmental therapy right away. At the age of two Jake began taking Occupational therapy and ABA therapy. Jake was progressing but my gut told me he might be Autistic. When Jake was 2 1/2 we received his official diagnosis; moderate to severe Autism Spectrum Disorder, Developmental delay and Sensory Processing Disorder. Our world changed. Even though I felt some relief knowing I hadn't caused his delays, I was still scared. I was worried. I wanted to do all that I could to help him. Everything I read told me early intervention was key. By the time Jake was 3 he was receiving 15-20 hours of therapy a week. I was driving all over the place to get him the help he needed. I was doing my best to learn as much as I could so I could help him outside of therapy.

Today Jake is in a typical kindergarten class, with the help of an aide. We still have a lot of work to do but the progress we have seen over the past 4 years is simply amazing!

There has always been hope. We will continue to have hope because with the right tools and a strong support system we know, anything is possible!!

Jake is an individual with Autism. Autism does not define Jake. Autism is a part of who my son is but if you look closely you will see that there is so much more!!

Laurie Dickan
Collierville, TN

My Autism Story

I'm Rob; I'm 25 years old and was diagnosed with Autism at a very young age.

I have what was formerly known in the DSM as Asperger Syndrome. My parents were told that I would never attend mainstream education. Not only did I go on to do that, but I passed my GCSE's with respectable grades and went on to further education and now I work in an office doing administration and accounts work.

I, like many other people on the Autistic spectrum, have my good days and my bad days in dealing with everything that comes with my condition. I sometimes struggle with things that seem easy to Neurotypicals, but ultimately I never let it get to me. I like to try and focus on the positives of my condition rather than the negatives and have a great support base with close friends and family both in person and on the internet. I am passionate in my interests and what I believe in, which can lead to me getting riled up about it sometimes. I live with my family and soon to be 1 year old Labrador Retriever named Seren. I love watching sports (namely football, rugby, and ice hockey), playing computer games, walking (whether it be alone, with family or friends, or with my dog).

I am glad that, whilst I have grown up, attitudes towards Autism and people on the Autistic spectrum have improved greatly. People on the Autistic spectrum are different in a few ways, but overall we are just like everyone else; Kind, intelligent, fun loving, friendly people; we just process things differently and we have a lot to offer in this world.

Robert Williams
Wrexham, United Kingdom


My name is Louann. I am a mother to an amazing boy named Andrew. Who is 6 years old.

When Andrew was 1 1/2-2 he was delayed in speech, motor skills. He would line things up, play with just the wheels on cars or trains, when he was in a walker he would just sit in it and look at the wheels intently, hum excessively also. I shared my concerns with his pediatrician and was referred to Birth to Three. Andrew received further testing and was then referred to LEARN. After further testing he was then diagnosed as ASD.

Andrew has a great personality, can often be a comedian, he LOVES the water, still loves trains, cars, MineCraft, loves to be a little chef in the kitchen, and little artist.

Now I look at autism in a whole new way then when I first learned about it. I can't imagine life without my son of course but Autism as well. It has made me open my heart to more things, other things besides autism. It has opened my eyes; I see the world through my son's eyes; he sees what we all miss.

Groton, CT


I like Haribo

And Maomm

6 in 1 solar models

Doctor Who

Jelly and ice cream

With Custard

Things that whiz and crash and zoom

And standy-up things that fall over

Jumping up and down

Spinning around and around and around and around

Look at the shiny thing

My favourite is the roughly thing

It crinkles my fingers

And then

It makes my head go


And then I can make it go


And it is loud

And it makes me feel


And tingly

Then I have to land

Because I am in my world and it is late and people want to sleep

So I think of smoothly

And I glide and slip

Into their world

Where I pretend




Will Blackwood
Leicester, United Kingdom

Accepting my Diagnosis

Over the course of my life I've known I was different,members of my family, teachers, coaches, other people my age and am certain that complete strangers have as well. Of course the reason for that is I have high functioning autism spectrum disorder also known as aspbergers syndrome.

Now growing up I was always overly emotional at times I was slow to pick things up and I was all around different from my peers and my siblings as well, being the youngest of four though that is expected, but it never was caught by anyone that I may of course have this disorder. I had been going therapists for most of my childhood because of my differences to put into laymen's terms, so when at 18 my parents and I are given a diagnosis of aspbergers I was angry. Angry with myself, my parents, therapist's and doctors I'd been seeing for years, teachers, god and the world itself for never knowing . It was relieving as well don't get me wrong, but when you find out so much later in life then you can't learn the ways to cope with the disorder.

For many months and even a year or two of finding out I was reluctant to even tell people that I had it in fears that I would be treated differently and I didn't want that. Through out those years I discovered that its not a completely disabling disease or something that needs to be "cured" it's simply a part of who I am and what makes me and many more people the way I am and the way they are. We aren't statistics or diagnosis we are simply a unique individual who has a different take on the world.

Educating ones self and those around us along with accepting autism is what will help not only those who have it better understanding but their parents, spouses siblings and peers that what they have isn't something to be ashamed of having it is something that makes them a unique piece in this crazy puzzle we call a world.

Tanner Calder
Chehalis, WA

Living Autism thru my son and husband

Never did i think we would fall in love. Mike was quite n serious. The complete oppisite of me. I'm loud, outgoing, and love to be spontaneous.. He told me he had been diagnosed as mental retardation. Something didnt fit as i watched mike use his hands to fix things, was amazing on a cellphone and computer, was able to communicate well. I thought maybe he was misdiagnosed. I asked his grandma one day, She said Lynda if u ask me the boy has autism from what i read today. Well i knew i like him alot as we spent day after day i knew this gentle soul had won my heart. He moved in with my family helped me and my mom take care of my dying stepfather. became provider and protecter of my mom and I . I loved him i knew from the day my dad was lowered into the ground and he knelt before his grave during the whole service. That next year our daughter was born february 23,2007 came Alyssa Rose into the world. He was the first to hold and feed her. That bond grew from there she was daddys girl in the beginning. Well my bi-polar started to act up in the beginning of Alyssas life he had to be mother and father to her. When she was four cps came into our lives it became a long rocky road ...he stayed. Nathan Allyn came into our lives that January 14 2010 he had problems from the start but daddy said he is gonna be our survivor. He was diagnosed with autism, , speech delayment, and learning disabled. we helped him learn slowly byreading and talking to him. We accessed all our countys resources . Then Alyssa was raped at four and cps came and is still present. I had another episode in 2013 the kids were put in state custody daddy never left. Look at Mike a father of two, working for a living, and a wonderful husband. Autism was someones definition but not his life story....

lynda berlanga echols
Clute, TX
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