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Hi im proud to say im Isaick Gable Mom

Isaick I just wanted to let you know you are my hero and im so proud of you! You have people make fun Of you on a daily bases say mean things mean looks. And you get upset and aggravated at times but you still manage to hold your head up smile and keep going .. you have your moments and you have your fits but tht dont hold you back . You work so hard in therapy you try to do what your suppose to do. You are talking and have sence u were almost 5 . And you have accomplish so much more . You are in regular classes, doing sports, etc. Even with us finding out u can no longer hear in right ear u still say its ok Mommy ill be like superman and hear real good in other ear you always look at the positive. I wanted to let you. Know im very proud of you and keep up the good work . With all this hard work you will be able to be a Cop are a lawyer for kids in no time Just like you want to be . And so much more ... im so proud to say im ur mom because you are a fighter and i get to stand beside you and see it all love u and i will never stop fighting for you either. Thank You for being you always and never being negative and having a warm heart even when they dont deserve it ... Love You and always will

Starla Gable
Wilsonville, AL

My life with Aspergers

My mom have told me I always was the odd girl at kindergarten. I never spoke to anyone but my best (and only) friend. In 1st grade I got one new friend that I always stayed with. All the time. By 7th grade I only had one friend again. I had had a huge fight with my first friend and she wouldn't speak to me again. When my only friend started talking to other people and make other friends I got jealous and tried to talk to people. I got bullied a lot so no one really paid attention to my hellos or any other kind of trying to make friends. It ended up with me crying in my room and playing with barbie. I got bullied at home to. By my dad that every day told me how much of a freak I am. Now my life is great. My mom took me and left my dad. I started at a new school in 8th grade and got good grades. I have always loved reading and now I'm calm enough to do it. I have always been depressed and now I'm taking medicine against depression so I can finally laugh and smile again. The scars on my hands don't bother me anymore. I'm happy again. The one big thing in my life is Twilight. I got 928 posters in my room and over 175 Twilight stuff. Such as autographs and a costume and a ton of jewellery. This November I'm going to meet some of the actors which have been my dream since I was 8. I'm now in 10th grade and my life is as perfect as it can get. I only got one thing to say to everyone else out there. Stay strong!

Trondheim, Norway

Awareness for Adults with Autism

I am the parent of a of an adult man with autism who at age 27 has never been able to communicate with words. He still lives at home with me and attends an adult day program 4 days a week (behavioral skills is the focus) where he interacts with peers much like himself. I just don't see a lot of awareness on Facebook that focuses on autistic individuals like my son… And there are more like him than people realize

Laura Jaquess
Golden, CO

Children With Autism Can Learn When Given A Chance

This story is one of hope and encouragement for parents or any caregivers who have a child with Autism. I am a reading specialist and took up a request last year from a parent to work with his child who had Autism. The concerns from the parent were that his 7-year-old son had not been making any progress in school (child was in school since age 3) in learning to read. Specifically, the child did not know more than 10 sight words, had no understanding of phonics, and was unable to write words or simple sentences. The school made little or no effort to help him progress. At first, I noticed it was very difficult to administer assessments that would provide valid results since the boy was very active and had difficulty focusing. However, I decided it would certainly be worth some effort to see if he would respond to good reading instruction that other children are typically provided in school during first and second grade (with appropriate adaptations made for this child).

Instruction started at a first grade level and included activities such as making words, directly teaching all key phonics skills (the boy loved coloring, so I tried to integrate as many sheets/materials as possible that involved coloring and phonics) listening to stories on tape from reading textbooks and then having the boy read the same stories aloud, orally discussing stories with the student (often about the characters, setting, events, etc.), providing reinforcement stories for the child to read with his parents between lessons, and also using a research-based technique called emotional thermometers (this strategy helped the boy identify and relate to simple emotional states of characters in fiction stories and increased comprehension dramatically). I am proud to report that in less than one month, the boy was making amazing progress and was actually reading simple stories, writing some complete sentences, and reading many sight words. After about 11 months, the child had progressed more than a full grade and a half. The lesson is this: children with Autism can and do learn when given a chance.

Chicago, IL

Brotherly Love

I was 2 when I told my parents I wanted a little brother. Of course they tried to explain I might get a sister but, i was adamant that I'd asked God for a brother and that's what i would get. My baby brother, Khalil was born when I was 3 years and 4 months old. He's the light of our lives. He didn't talk to anyone but me until he was 4 years old. He would shyly whisper to me when he wanted or needed something such as food or the bathroom. One day, after my parents had yet again not believed my stories that he could speak, he was sitting on the swings in our backyard singing the alphabet that I'd been teaching him to himself. I rushed into to the kitchen and dragged my mother out so she could see. He wasn't given a formal diagnosis until he was 12 years old, when he was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. At that time, my father was advised to permanently institutionalize him. Doctors said he'd be a burden on our family otherwise. My brother is 27 now, he served 4 years in the Marine Corps as a jet engine mechanic, and now serves in the National Guard whilst attending college via the GI Bill. Nobody will ever tell him what he can't do again.

Kadeshia Easton
Pittsburgh, PA

My wonder boy!

Our son is now 4 and half year old. He is diagnosed with Pdd-nos with probable autism and hyperactivity. As I have read in most of your stories, he was different as a baby, I.e. Had to be held in a particular position for sleeping, rocked for ages, we did not find it different as he is our first child. At 1 and 1/2 we started observing that he is regressing in speech, lost eye contact and did repetitive actions. He had a very disturbed sleep. We have used many therapies on him since then, starting with Aba when we were in US and now in India, speech, occupational and behavior. We also studied various supplements and gave him vitamins, carnosine and omega three. After coming to India, we had his blood work done, and what came out was, his serum lactate levels were high and carnitine levels low. So the Dr. Started giving him Lcarnitine, Co- Q and b vitamins. We had his whole dose of supplements planned. And I believe that this worked like a wonderful thing for him. He started saying complete sentences, can pronounce most of the words, and started giving a better eye contact, which helped us to connect with him. Now with a healthy social life, day care friends, school friends, his lonely time, where he just plays with his cars, is much reduced. We are happy abt his progress..

Pune, India

Anna Sophie

Anna Sophie is 4. She is lovely, smart, can use chopsticks like a pro, is hilarious, loves her little sister and is great with animals. She was also diagnosed with autism at 3.5 years. She only recently started talking in the past couple of months. She gets upset and frustrated, screams "no" a lot but she has a great therapist who is helping her achieve milestones. When she was diagnosed, they told me that the only milestone she had reached was with her gross motor skills. Now, she is only delayed in speech and social skills. She is potty trained and can do a puzzle quicker than anyone I have ever met. She is truly special and with all the love and therapy she receives, she will be just fine.

Montreal, QC, Canada

I Beat the Odds

My name is Louis Scarantino.

I'm 23 years old and I've had Asperger's Syndrome since I was 2 years old. My family (especially my mother) always supported me throughout my life. I had troubles in school and everything else I did in my life and not a lot of people understood my struggles very well. I never gave up and always set high goals for myself. I went for therapy and got all the help I needed to be high functioned and to overcome a lot of my struggles. It led to many great things and amazing moments in my life. I went to an Elton John concert back in 2008 and unexpectedly got front row seats and an autograph. I graduated college cum laude with nothing but A's and B's while attending. On top of it all, I went to Las Vegas for the first time in my life in October 2013 to see an idol of mine who is country pop singer Shania Twain. Shania was bringing fans on stage during her Vegas show Still the One and I took it upon myself to get up from the 11th row and told her I was from PA and she told me to come up to the stage by saying "Come on up here Pennsylvania". After the other fans she brought up and I got a picture with Shania, she took MY hand and guided me to the stone I was going to sit on. She sat right next to me and performed three songs. To all families and people who have or know someone with autism, I encourage all of you to never give up on them because anything is possible for them too. Their dreams can come true just like mine did. I hope to get married next and do a lot of other great things in my life and I encourage all of you people with autism to do the same. Because of all I accomplished and all of the amazing moments I had, having autism isn't that bad. God bless!

Louis Scarantino
Old Forge, PA

There's Always Hope!

My son was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 2. He had the echolalia going on and always had an attachment to items such as Sprite bottles or makers. He also did the stemming a lot. He was non verbal till about 3.5-4 yrs of age. He received speech therapy and ABA therapy at 2.5 years of age. His ABA tutor attended Kindergarten with him and was phased out at 1st grade. He continued to receive speech therapy until about 5th grade. From there he discontinued all special services.

I now have him in a private school where he has overcome so much!

From the time he was diagnosed our world has been all about trial and error. What worked for my son may or may not work on others. I do have him on a behavioral vitamin daily and I limit his dairy. I have tried the gluten casein free diet and it did not affect him the way it does others.

He is now 14 years old and in his 1st year of high school. He recently graduated as Salutatorian of his 8th grade class. He plays the piano and the bass. He also joined the soccer team this year. His first time playing in an organized sport. He loves it and is doing very well!

Though we have had our ups and downs and will continue to have them- I would not change a thing about him! He is my world and is perfect just the way his is! I thank God every day for him <3

I just wanted to encourage others out there that even when the future seems lost- just keep the faith and hope and take one day at a time! It will all be OK! :)

Sacramento, CA

Until all the Pieces Fit

One year ago, my life-changing journey began, involving seven unique teenagers: Richard, Vincent, Daniel, Joey, Nick, Billy, and Dikembe.

After graduating from college with my Bachelor’s in Secondary Education, I struggled with finding a job. I practically thought it was the end of the world. Sometimes those negative thoughts occur but I am quickly reminded of how lucky I am for receiving a special opportunity. I accepted an instructional assistant position in a high school Autistic-support classroom. The first week was rough. Being that I knew absolutely nothing about Autism or Special Education for that matter, I did not know what to expect. Reality struck me and it was painful: one student flopped onto the floor and continuously squeezed the lead teacher while another screamed due to struggling with a task. One student used a talking device because he was non-verbal while another wore head phones often because of the high level of noise. The first thought that flashed in my mind: how could I have been so oblivious towards special needs children?

It was during that year when my thoughts and perspectives on teaching had suddenly changed. I didn’t want to be just a teacher. I aspired to be the teacher that goes above and beyond in meeting the needs of ALL students.

I would be lying if I said there are days that I don’t dream of having my own classroom or perhaps teaching general education; however, I also would be lying if I said it would be easy to leave my students. They have impacted my life in such a significant way. They have taught me more than all the textbooks and lectures I received during college. People say, “Things always happen for a reason,” and I believe they were my reason.

My post-grad journey reminds me of a puzzle. I was never quite ready to become a teacher….until all the pieces fit.

Philadelphia, PA
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