Meet Harrison, a sweet 3 year old boy that was diagnosed with autism when he was 2.5 years old. This was Harrison’s first year participating in Faces of Autism and I had such a fun time chasing him around the Heritage Center.
Harrison was falling behind his same age peers in social/emotional and language areas. He rarely responded to his name being called or made eye contact with anyone that was not in his immediate family. He had a hard time adapting to new surroundings and people and would often melt down if other children attempted to engage with him. Harrison is prone to wandering off, seeks hard sensory input, and does not seem to react appropriately to injuries.
Harrison is incredibly sweet and caring towards those he loves. His parent’s report that he is the best snuggler. Early intervention was huge in turning around his social fears and he lives to make people laugh. Being the youngest, Harrison spends a lot of time at his older siblings' events and practices. He enjoys anything that will get him outside - especially anything messy. He loves superheroes and playing with his siblings.
Harrison still struggles with normal social and emotional responses, though now typically in the opposite manner from what was observed early on. He is delayed in expressive and receptive language, and has no sense of fear/danger for himself.
Harrison’s parents say “Early intervention was key for Harrison. The progress he's made in the last year and a half has been nothing short of amazing. We used to worry he would never be able to hold a conversation or follow verbal directions. Now we have trouble getting him to stop talking! He uses spontaneous language ("please", "thank you", "oops, sorry!") in discussion with zero prompting and is able to follow direction well enough to participate in group sports activities.”
If you suspect your child has autism, Harrison’s parent’s advise “Don't stop pushing for the help your child needs! It's not always an easy process, but the end result is always worth it.”