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Me and Maddie

This is Madison. Never, ever, have I been ashamed or embarrassed to have this beautiful girl be my step-daughter! She is a handful, she's not always sweet, or talkative. She isn't always the most behaved kid. But she is AWESOME! And beautiful! Her life is lived through a different perspective. She is SMART! Oh my gosh she is smart! She is funny, and full of life! Autism didn't make my child have a disability. Autism made my child one of a kind! I am beyond blessed to have this angel in my life!

Emily Parker
Selma, AL

Dream love. Dream big

hi my name is Kristina lynn Bowden. im 20 years old with autism. im single and im not giving for love and my dreams. my dream is to be happy, rich and date Jason mcelwain because I want to help others and I want to date Jason so bad because we have so much in common and I think hes a good mate for me. if hes interested dating me that would be great cause my heart belongs to him and I love his story and I want him to get to know me and be likes friends or soul mate. will you help me? your more than welcome to spread the word and tell him. please write me back and thank you.

love, kristina

kristina
galt, CA

Dylans Journey

Being a mother of 3 little boys i knew when i had my son Dylan that he was different.. He did not crawl till he was one, walk till he was 19 months and he never had a regular bowl movement not even as a baby. Dylan also did not talk till he was 3 and could not make 3 word sentences till he was 4. I had him tested at 2 for hearing problems fearing he was deaf becuase he never even responded to sound... He started speech and occupational therapy when he was 3 and was finally formally diagnosed with Autism and sensory processing disorder at the age of 4. He is extremely sensitve to sound and the buzing of any flying insect is the worst. He has a very picky diet and is hghly allergic to cinnamon. Getting these answers was not easy we had doctors appointments galore with therapist, allergists, gi's ect. Through this journey he finally started school last year in 2013 and it brought up some aggression issues within him. We went through a violent stage, hitting, kicking, biting, and having many meltdowns.We have had issues with bullies and our share of emotion.Today, I am beyond proud and amazed at this strong little boy.. Through all of this, he learned to communicate, talk in full sentences that you can understand and he taught himslef to center his emotions and tell you how he feels.. He graduated from kindergarten reading at a third grade level and just recently started first grade. Although this year has already hit some snags he continues to push through everyday.. He is truely my super hero. This little boy has inspired me so much i started my own autism comunnity website to help spread awareness. He is beyond incredible and the more he shines the more passionate i become to help the world see how truely amazing he really is...

kristina day
knoxville, TN

Kelsey's Story

My name is Kelsey and I am 10 years old. I have been diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) which is on the autism spectrum. I have trouble talking sometimes and expressing my feelings and I am much smaller than any of my classmates. My mom found me at a Russian orphanage when I was 11 months old weighing less than 14 pounds.

I am very lucky because I have a terrific mom and a great group of family and friends that love me. I am currently in the 4th grade special education program. I am a member of a regional swim team and a cheerleading show team. I have also taken gymnastics and dance lessons since I was three years old and next month I will be competing in my first beauty pageant. In 2012, I was one of the youngest children in the nation to receive an award from the Kohl's Kids Care Scholarship Program for making my community a better place to live. This summer, I won an achievement award from the National STEM Academy to attend a summer engineering camp. During the past several years, I have raised several thousand dollars to benefit a variety of charities that assist special needs children and their families.

During the past three years, I have traveled speaking to a variety of audiences involving individuals ranging in age from toddlers to senior citizens. I read a book to the audience and talk about my own two books that contain a collection of short stories about my life since being adopted.

Some day, I want to start my own charitable foundation that will be able to help children and families who need assistance. My mom has taught me that I CAN DO ANYTHING and I want to help others!

Kelsey Norris
Bonaire, GA

Autisome

My name is Emily Nelson and I have Autism. On August 7, 2014, I published my first book ever. It's about a superhero named Autisome who discovers that he has a special power and as he uses it he learns that having Autism doesn't make him any less of a person. I dedicate Autisome to my boyfriend Justin Quigley. He's not just my boyfriend, he's also my best friend, and he's the one who showed me that having Autism doesn't make me less of a person, it makes me special instead. The purpose of this story is to teach everyone that people with Autism can still do many things that regular people can do. Having Autism used to really make me feel insecure with myself and I hope that every person with Autism never feels the same way I used to feel.

Emily Nelson
Palo Alto, CA

My Brother is a Monster

My brother is a monster. That's what I used to think when I was cleaning up the aftermath of another meltdown. When I was re-shelving the books that he threw, re-folding the laundry from the basket he dumped, or picking up the millions of tiny beads he knocked off of my mother's craft table. Or when strangers would stare at my family in public, judging us silently.

My brother is a monster. Yet, even as I thought those words I knew they weren't true, and immediately repented having the thought. He is not a monster; he is misunderstood.

My brother is seventeen years old today, three years my junior. He was diagnosed with severe autism when he was a toddler. He does not speak. He can only communicate with his mother and sisters using the few signs he learned from our mom, or with loud noises, like grunting or laughter, to convey his moods.. He can sign words like, "eat," "more," and "I love you."

As we grew up together, I always thought of how much better it would be if my brother had not been autistic. Looking back, however, I can see that his autism made our relationship even stronger. Instead of fighting like other siblings, we simply cherished the calm times in which we could watch a movie together or draw pictures together. My brother became the person who understood me most. He notices as soon as I am upset, angry, or sad, and will sit beside me, grab my hand, or put his arm around me to comfort me.

Without a doubt, my brother is one of my best friends, and he is an incredible blessing to my family..

Though autism may have drastically changed my family's lives, autism did not conquer us. We embraced autism.

Shimera Wix
Chilhowie, VA

Speedy

My son Matthew was a very quiet baby when he was in my stomach . When he was a baby he was a little fast with milestones but I started to notice that he would flapped his hands and get very excited when he wanted something. He did say a few words but we notice he had lost them by the time he was 12 months old. In June of 2013 Matthew was diagnose at the age of 2.5 with Autism Spectrum in August. Matthew is one amazing little boy he started last September at a specialize preschool for kids with disabilities and he amazed them all. When he started he was not talking just making a little bit of sounds as the school year went on he started to pick up words and now he is talking a little bit more but we still have times where he goes mute on us. Matthew does a lot of crawling and slapping of the chest. Matthew loves to be in the water and now we understand why he does he likes the deep pressure that he gets from being in the pool. This summer we had put Matthew in a camp with typical kids and he stay the whole time and for that I am proud of him for sticking with it. Matthew is in a martial art class and he does private lessons and we do try to get him with other kids. Matthew is a little boy that sometimes people just look at him because just something like going to a new place can cause a meltdown or stress him to the point that we have to leave.Matthew is very smart boy and a good memory he can take you to places that you took him once and he is great in education part too. He is starting to write with little help he just need the pressure on the pencil to write. He going back to the specialize preschool this year and I am hoping it help him with his social skills and making friends. mommy,daddy,sissy LVU.

Maria Rogers
Georgetown, DE

Paul My "Aurtistic" Step Son

My name is Wendy up until last year I was single mother of three kids until I met a special Man Named Joe Egan also a single father of 2 boys. When I met Joe in my heart I felt he was special as his son Paul Egan and he was he is Autistic now 5 years old. When I first met Paul his eating menu was very limited included bagel bars and peanut butter and Pop Tarts and had lots tantrums. I knew that this relationship would be a challenge but Joe Egan proposed and I said yes, so we decided to blend families totaling our household of 8. Yes 8 because we had one child of our own baby Joseph John Egan born this year May 26.

Blending families has not been an easy transition especially for the little ones but we have managed to overcome many obstacles. One of our great accomplishments is being able to put more items on Paul’s Menu to eat, using positive reinforcement as a whole family also helping him tone down on noise making asking him to work quietly at home so he can be successful at school. Being able to go out to eat to a restaurant is no longer a challenge because we have all worked as a team. Paul has also developed a very artistic skill expressing his creative imagination with a pen and a paper. His father created a site for him to share his work with the world http://aurtista.com/ . Paul is a special Child like his father and I feel lucky to call him my son. My advice to parents is work as family find their talent and let them express themselves! Positive reinforcement and tone is key, but everyone needs to work together and be on the same page as a family.

Don’t forget to check out Paul’s work http://aurtista.com/ and leave him a message you will make an already happy Autistic Boy even More happy!

Wendy Sanchez
Lakeside, CA

Beautiful Soul

My partner first told me he had Asperger's a few months into the relationship. He just casually slipped it into the conversation and awaited nervously for my reply. I had always noticed that he was different but that's what intrigued me about him. He had such a uniqueness that radiated off his every word. I remember calmly telling him 'I will love you no matter what' and I do. I love him Asperger's and all. He has a beautiful soul and he was so relieved that I had accepted him because all his life he had been bullied and shunned which is a real shame for those who turned down the chance to get to know him because he is a wonderful man who is kind, smart, caring, gentle and loving. I am so proud of him and everything he has achieved. I feel like just over the 18 months that we have been together he has blossomed and grown into a more amazing person. He isn't afraid to go out into the world and work and socialise which is great. He isn't going to let his disability bring him down which makes him one of the strongest people I know. He inspires me to the greatest level. We plan to get married one day and have kids. and to all who said that he was 'weird' or 'retarded' or whatever nasty names you called him, He is now inspiring to be someone and get somewhere despite his disability and that makes him a greater person then someone who puts another person down. I am proud of you, Matt and I love you so very much <3

Sally
Sydney, Australia

Jordan's Story

My son Jordan was born on July 9, 2010. Four weeks early and still weighing 8lbs and 21.5 in long! I knew he would be tall like his dad. Jordan was just diagnosed with ASD at age 4. Since he was a baby I noticed he was reaching his milestones later than other kids. When I would bring up my concern I was told over and over that all kids are different and on different timelines. I began to really worry when he turned 3 and he was still not talking. On top of that he had always been the "rough" kid, the "loud" kid, but I knew my baby was not bad. I knew there had to be something else. I enrolled him in an early learning program where they brought up autism concerns after his evaluation. On that program he has blossomed. My baby boy can now talk to me. Although it's still a little hard to understand he is trying so hard! And I am so proud of him. After meeting with his doctor on his 4 year appointment we have been referred to a wonderful team of specialists and we cannot wait to start this journey to better his life. Jordan now has a 3 month old baby brother. Although he has had a hard time expressing sympathy and feelings for people, when his baby brother came home he immediately loved him. It warmed my heart to see him kiss him and hug him and call him "cute" I know my boys will do great things, and with one another's love they will succeed.

Adriana Ramirez
Shelton, WA
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