The Faces of Autism: Meet Jack
Meet Jack, a friendly 9 year old boy diagnosed with Autism.
Jack was almost 4 years old when he was diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. When he was around 18 months old, his parent's felt that his language and speech wasn't quite where it was supposed to be in relation to his peers. Jack would bang his head into anything near him when he didn't get what he wanted. Others told his parents that "he is all boy". At 2.5 years old, his parents learned of a free speech screening and opted to utilize it, if nothing else, for peace of mind. While there, they recommended and OT screening as well. Jack was then diagnosed with Sensory Integration Dysfunction (now more commonly known as Sensory Processing Disorder). After a year of OT, his therapists felt like it was more than just SID, and shortly after, Jack was diagnosed with High Functioning Autism.
Jack has a great memory. He is always reminding his parents of past experiences or facts he has learned. His favorite thing to read is nonfiction and he loves to do research. A few of his favorite topics are Ocean and African animals, dinosaurs and sports. He also likes math and solving math problems. Jack enjoys watching and playing many sports as well as playing outside, riding his bike and going fishing/camping. He has always loved building legos and builds large sets quickly. He makes friends wherever he goes!
Eating is a struggle with Jack. When he was little he would not sit down to eat but was more of a grazer. He continues to struggle with the smell of some foods and textures of others. Jack is sensative to loud noises. It has gotten much better and he has learned strategies to help when they happen unexpectedly. He is also particular about what clothing he wants to wear.
Transitions and change of plans were very difficult when Jack was younger but they are getting a little easier. His parents still try to tell him in advance if there are going to be changes in schedules.
Jack's parents have this to say about having a child with Autism:
"We believe everything happens for a reason, and Jack has taught us so many things. The world would be boring if everyone was the same, children with autism bring special gifts and talents. My perfect world would be one without judgement. The special diets, rigid schedules and tolerance of behaviors are done to help our son and the judgement from others is what wears on me as a mom. I always tell people to imagine what a child is feeling inside if they are melting down on the outside.
They say it takes a village to raise a family. I always say I am thankful for that. Because Jack has Autism, I have people to make that village. We are thankful for Jack's preschool teacher at BECEP who after all our stories of our struggles said, "I want him in my class". She saw the amazing little boy we did and wanted to help! We have seen that continued support from classroom teachers and special education teachers as he transitioned to Elementary School. Early intervention is key and we tried a few different therapists before finding Red Door.
If you have a child with autism remember, you are their #1 advocate. Don't be afraid to stand up and fight for them."
Jack wants people to know "everybody is different". Which is so true. There is a saying in the Autism community: "If you have met one person with Autism, you have met one person with Autism." There is a reason why Autism is a Spectrum, it encompasses so much. People with Autism are as different from eachother as... people.
If you suspect your child may have an Autism Spectrum Disorder, there are great supports in the community. One of my favorites is BisMan Autism Families on Facebook.
HERE is just one article on High Functioning Autism that I found interesting.
Please feel free to share Jack's story to help spread Autism Awareness and Acceptance.