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This is my Artistic Amazing Aspie teenager Haylie

I wanted to take a moment to spotlight my amazingly artistic Aspie teen, Haylie. She was an angelic baby who would sit for hours playing with toys as she classically lined everything in rows and being my first child along with my mother passing away suddenly when she was 2 1/2 months I truly felt she was my angel baby. She has always been mature for her age and scary smart! It wasn't until she started kindergarten that things started surfacing that made teachers take notice as well as myself. She even sat frog style in her seat till she was in 6th grade. Every year I would have to explain her meltdowns in the mornings difficulty concentrating etc. And every time I was told to be tougher on her, she's being stubborn or lazy etc. She also being a quiet unassuming kid that loved nature and bug life(especially caterpillars) was an easy target for a bus stop bully. And not communicating to me the situation I was truly clueless until a friend's child mentioned it to her and it was brought to my attention. I dealt with it swiftly but, people always thought Haylie was the odd ball in evety situation along with comments from teachers "Don't be so bad all the time and maybe they wn't be so mean!" Honestly she wasn't bad so much as off in another world and she didn't fit their mold of how an average child learned! Finally when middle school came into play and after they ignored my demand for her to be teated in 3rd grade because they qouted her IQ at 126 at only 7 yrs old. I took her to a neurologist and he immediately diagnosed her high functioning Asperger's syndrome. I wanted to kiss the doctor. He finally validated myself to teachers who had labeled her difficult etc. She now has her struggles but is thriving and has grown into her artistic abilities seamlessly! Even did a public service announcement on herself to stop people from bullying others. Maybe they have autism! Always a proud mom of her!

Manahawkin, NJ

My Life With Asperger's Syndrome

Hi there,

I’m Nick and I have a mild diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome, which I knew about since I was about 4-5 years old, but did not get diagnosed with it until I was 12 years old. But just because I have Asperger's doesn't mean that there's stuff I cannot do. I took upon myself to try and be the best at everything that garnered my intrest and to show people that ‘Aspies’ have the ability to do great things in life.

You see, I've done a fair bit with my life, keep up with what I've done if you can: I'm a black belt in karate and have done the form of karate I practise for over 12 years, I’m University Graduate (B.A in Drama and Media combined), I'm an amateur stand up comedian (the biggest gig I did was in May for Teenage Cancer Trust and the late Stephen Sutton, whom I met and shook hands with), I work for an Indie Video Game in my home of Birmingham, England, as both a voice actor for their games and as their marketing researcher, and I am an advocate for Autism Spectrum Conditions and support for them across 3 different charities in 3 different forms each (being put down as a media talker for the National Autistic Society in the United Kingdom, being a public speaker for another, and a blogger for the last one). Phew! Thanks for keeping up with all that!

The point I’m trying to get across is this: having Asperger’s is not a bad thing, I view my Asperger’s as more of a gift than I do a negative thing, because there are MANY positives to have the condition itself, you just have to see that and use those same positives to do a lot of, again, great things with your life.

So it just goes to show, if an ‘Aspie’ like me can do these great things, what can other people with Asperger’s and other forms of Autism do? My fellow ‘Aspies’, let’s show the world what we can do.

Rock and Roll Baby!

Nick Hall
Birmingham, United Kingdom

My Little Brother, Kayden

Kayden was born June, 30th, 2004. He was still in the Hospital , just born no too long ago when all of the sudden his stats dropped. My mom stayed a extra day in the Hospital, the doctors did not know why his stats dropped he went home a fine healthy baby. As he got older, he was not catching up on words like he should have, and certain sounds and noises bothered him. Sometimes when my mom would call his name he would not even respond. After a little while he would respond and everything would be okay. When he was 3 things still were not as well as they should of been, so my mom taught Kayden a little bit of Sign Language. One time, our carbon monoxide alarm went off. He did not move or flinch at all, just kept playing with his toys, my parents then knew something was wrong. They took him to get a diagnosis, they said he needed tubes in his ears and that the hearing played into why he was not talking as good or well as a normal 3 year-old should have been. So he got his tubes and he started speech therapy and went to preschool and school struggling, but getting through. As he matured my parents both noticed that his little baby fits and he was 8, and we also had a new little brother named Daxton, and as Daxton started maturing they became fast friends. As his hearing improved he still was very socially awkward, everything was black and white to him, he never could understand sarcasm and he always had to be on time and always needed a date and time. My mother then decided that her being a special ed teacher, recognized this as some things kids with Autism do, she did the testing and guess what? He has high-functioning Autism. It was not a surpriser to anyone but we still loved him all the same. He got bullied, gave the kid who did it a black eye, and has helped other boys with Autism.

Kamryn Alley
Wellington, UT

Jayce and Adi

Our journey began, ironically enough, in April (National Autism Awareness Month), when our 2 year old son, Jayce, was diagnosed with severe Autism, SPD, and remains today, at age 3, as non-verbal. We knew there was something a little different about our boy, but we saw the easy-going lovable Jayce and that was all that mattered. He qualified for therapy at 1 year old and little did I know he probably would have been diagnosed at that time too. I was not ready to accept it and denied the services requesting an evaluation 6 months later…I knew he would grow out of “it” whatever that “it” may be. I changed Pediatricians and immediately I could see the concern in her eyes, I was then terrified. I started my research at that time and have been advocating for my little guy ever since. He is the most precious, sweet, tender, angel and if anything he has given me a second life. I feel like his diagnosis has shown me how to be a more compassionate, open-minded, humble person and for this I will always be indebted to him. He is my hero in so many ways. His diagnosis has also opened our eyes to a few of his older sisters traits and characteristics. We now understand and see stimming in her and know that she is on the high end of the Spectrum herself. Her name is Adilynn and she is in the pic as well. She is in mainstream Kindergarten and is excelling beautifully.

Jayce is now in Preschool with an amazing set of teachers and therapists who just happen to gush over him every day. He is purposeful, makes great eye contact, stays on task, and listens (just when you think he isn’t).

I love my babes to the moon and I would never dream of changing them. Every day is a new day and we will use each and every one of those days to grow and learn together. This journey is ours as a family and we couldn't be more proud of our Super Jayce and Adibear!

Jessica Dowell
Terre Haute, IN

Nathan - Melts our hearts

Nathan is three and a half years old. He was diagnosed with mild autism about 4 months ago. We noticed that things were different with Nathan compared to our other children when they were that age, but we just thought he was really stubborn from the time he was two years old. Since he started on solids when he was a year old, he only eats crackers, plain waffles, dry cereal, fries and chicken nuggets (they have to be a certain texture), he used to panic when we would try to put him on the ground outside with no shoes on. He is very particular about the way things are done, likes to turn all of the lights on in the house, lines up his cars, smells Scentsy candles for hours, growls at people when they try to talk to him, has a hard time controlling his emotions when he is upset, answers "yes" when we ask him open-ended questions, has texture issues and much more. Nathan is very funny and his laugh is contagious. Blonde hair and blue eyes...he is going to be a heart breaker when he is older. When we had him evaluated, I had done a lot of research about autism and I had a feeling that was what was going on, but I wasn't sure. I felt so torn about how I would react to the results because if he had autism, that would explain so much, but if he didn't, I would feel like I just didn't know how to parent him correctly. I wasn't expecting to feel shocked at the results, but I was shocked. After about a month, the shock wore off and now we just take things one day at a time with a lot of therapies for Nathan. Aba, occupational therapy and feeding therapy. I read a quote that I absolutely love! Raising a child with autism does not TAKE a special family. It MAKES a family SPECIAL.

Jamie Bunch
Travis AFB, CA

a person of very great strength, intellect, or importance

Titan Jax was born in July two days after our one year wedding anniversary and we were over the moon. His name means a person of very great strength, intellect, or importance, we just knew that had to be the name for our first born child. Titan is silly; sweet; determined; active; strong; clumsy and smart. All the things a mother could hope for in a little boy. When he isn't being stingy with loves or way to involved with youtube he gives so much love and the most gentle kisses over and over. Just like his mother Titan LOVES Disney and has a serious smile when a certain redheaded mermaid sings to him from the tv. When Titan isn't running around the house shouting loud enough for 4 kids he can be found in his cuddle swing or on his bed playing with his action figures, cars and dinos. A few of his other favorite things are puzzles, and coloring and more recently PLAYDOH!!!! He will do anything you want if he can play with playdoh, lol. Next school year he will go to kindergarten because I can't believe I am even saying this but he will be 5 years old.

Oh and Titan was diagnosed as severely autistic in April 2014. . . a person of very great strength, intellect, or importance. He is here people, are you ready?

paulene conti
Roseville, CA

Being the sibling

My name is Kat. i am 16 and i am the oldest of four. Two of which, are Autistic. One of them is 4 the other is 3.

As they grew up the whole family noticed how they didnt learn to talk when they should have. We moved a few towns over from our house at the time to get them the services they needed and a year after their diagnosis, the 4 year old is in preschool and can actually communicate with us now and the 3 year old is learning signs to help communicate and is starting on her speech.

Both are very tech savvy, They can unlock an iphone and go straight to the app wanted no problem. You could move the apps around and they still we be able to find them. And they are smart with shapes and colors and recognizing characters.

Alot of people seem to think that having Autistic Siblings is horrible. But to be honest, they arent horrible at all. They listen, they do as asked and besides their speaking set back, they are normal toddlers. They are beyond adorable and I am so proud to be their older sister, their Kat Kat, their cuddle monster, their play toy and everything else.

I am proud to be related to two autistic kids. I will always stick by them. Even though i live across the country from them now, I will always be there for them. I love them to death. and I miss them so much. But the phone calls and skype calls i get with them puts a huge smile on my face and theirs. I hate looking around at my old school, because people would make fun of the autistic kids and the special needs kids and food allergy kids and i hated that. Because my three siblings(One has life threatening allergies) will be at that table. and I swear, if anyone makes fun of them, they will have to deal with me.

Anywho, I just wanted to share my little story ^^

Thank you for your time

Goodyear, AZ

My Husband Has Grown Through Aspergers & I Have Grown From It

I met my husband on the bus in 10th grade. While I never figured we'd ever date, we did quickly become friends. After a while, we did begin dating. He had broken up with me to date someone else, but we stayed friends. However, upon being verbally abused by a girl who ridiculed him for "being weird", he realized that, of all the girls he dated, I was the ONLY one who didn't hold his differences against him. If anything, I had accepted his differences, even admired them. He didn't like being touched, but he was so intelligent and thought outside of the box in such a way that'd leave you in awe. He couldn't process too many noises, but with his music, he could express himself in such a way that hit you right in the heart. It didn't take long after he broke up with me to realize how much he really did love me, and shortly afterwards, we were back together.

After dating for a couple of years, we finally got engaged and are now married with two kids; another on the way. I'm baffled at how far he's come!

Where touching was a no-no when we first started dating, he's now a cuddle bug! Where he avoided heavy socializing, he's now more social than I am! Working was assumed impossible for him six years ago; he's now working so I can be home with the kids, taking prominent steps towards being an electrician with mastery in mind. He still gets overwhelmed with too many noises, but he's filtering better so that he can process more.

And me?

I've learned patience. I've learned to communicate successfully with him in an understanding way. I learned his brute honesty isn't an attack, but an expression. I learned that beautiful things can come from what other's consider a handicap. Foremost, I learned that anything that seems impossible can be overcome. My husband is the biggest inspiration in my life and I count myself lucky to have him, Aspergers and all. He's an amazing, caring father and I'm proud of him.

Pam Jones
Windsor, PA

Brothers in Struggle

Autism is not a foreign thing to my family. My big brother John is somewhat low on the Autism scale. He has a very structured life and has lived in a group home since he was a teenager (he is now 47). He has no real concept of relationships or love. Growing up, he always got bullied, called names, etc. He was never accepted.

Then there is me...I always saw my brother and knew that I wasn't like him. In many ways, I felt like I was an ordinary kid, with ordinary likes and dislikes. However, I wasn't like any other kid. I truly enjoyed being by myself. When I was a teenager, my stepmother once said to me, "I wish you would get arrested or something, just so I know you are a normal kid". Was she right? Was I not a normal kid? When I was 22, I met a wonderful woman who later became my wife. Life seemed good, but there was always a problem. She told me that I have always preferred to get lost in video games and being alone than spending time with the family, including our kids. Things got worse. My marriage has suffered almost to the breaking point because I didn't know how to be a husband or father. I try, but I don't know what I am doing. The idea of being romantic, loving, and passionate is something I can't understand. I can give you a dictionary definition, but not much more. Everything I do has to have routine, down to a checklist. I am relatively intelligent - I have a Bachelor's degree and am working on a Master's degree now. However, I only understand structure and organization. It wasn't until my wife, a nurse, mentioned the possibility of me having Asperberger's Syndrome did something click. It was like the last puzzle piece fell into place! I broke down and cried. I haven't been diagnosed yet, but everything I have read about high-functioning autism fits me as if it was written about me. I feel like there is hope!

Port Orchard, WA

Jennalee, Life With Asperger's, Success, and Paying it Forward. I have Autism, but Autism doesn't have me!

My name is Jennalee. I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at the age of 11. My parents always suspected there was something different about me, but it took a series of visits with neurologists in order for me to receive the proper diagnoses, after having been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder in preschool or kindergarten. I had intense obsessions with maps, nature, and animals during childhood. I barely even talked until I was 8 years old. I attended two K-12 special education private schools, one during grades K-3, one during grades 7-12, and I attended public schools during grades 4-6. At both my first school and the public schools, I was constantly bullied by students my own age, but I got along incredibly well with many older students who accepted me for who I am and would do anything possible to bring me out of my shell. I wandered around a lot, I fidgeted constantly, and I struggled to make eye contact or sit still in class. When I was in 7th grade, I went to a school more conducive to Asperger’s Syndrome that helped me succeed academically and led me to become a social butterfly today. I also met my long-term and current boyfriend at that school and we are very happy. There I earned numerous new friends of all ages who accepted me for who I am. I have attended 1 community college as well as 2 four-year colleges, all places of which I made amazing friends who accepted me for who I am despite my Autism. I am currently a junior in college majoring in social work with a concentration in child welfare and minor in childhood studies, as my dream is to give back to the community and help other people in honor of how people helped me through my struggles with Autism. I have Autism, but Autism doesn’t have me. Instead, Autism makes me better equipped for understanding other people with special needs and academic difficulties. If I can succeed, so can you! Never allow Autism to stop you from pursuing your dreams!

Mount Holly, NJ
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