Theo turns THREE!!

Theo turns THREE!!

Mr. Theodore is one of my best clients!  I might be a bit biased as he is family, but that's okay!  He has previously been very shy in front of the camera, but he is definitely warming up to it!

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The Faces of Autism/Siblings Dacotah & MiKynna

The Faces of Autism/Siblings Dacotah & MiKynna

Here they are, kids #2 & #4 for me.  I had long suspected Dacotah fell somewhere on the Spectrum and had learned some of the signs and red flags, which, in the end, helped MiKynna.  It may be an odd thing to hear, that the Autism diagnosis helps her, but it can and does.  She is more able to get services than he is and has been given an earlier start to services and help.  Because I knew the red flags of Autism, it was caught earlier with MiKynna.

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The Faces of Autism/Dacotah

The Faces of Autism/Dacotah

Meet Dacotah!

Dacotah is a very intelligent 10 year old boy.  Unlike the rest of the kids featured this month, Dacotah has not been officially diagnosed with Autism.  Even though he doesn't carry the diagnosis, I felt it was important to include him because there are many people out there that fall into the type of limbo he is in.  He has many signs and symptoms of Autism, but due to his age and IQ level, it is more difficult to get a diagnosis. 

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The Faces of Autism/Isabella

Meet Isabella!

Isabella is beautiful 5 year old girl who was diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder at 3 years old.  She loves to sing and dance and I have been told she has quite the set of pipes!  Isabella is a sweet, loving, fun, and empathetic little girl with an amazing memory.

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When Isabella was younger she didn't have good eye contact and had a hard time following age appropriate directions.  She had a speech delay/echolalia (which is meaningless repetitive words repeating another person's spoken words), preferred to play alone and would become anxious in crowded social gatherings.  Isabella also had severe eating difficulties, which have continued on to this day.

Isabella has taught her parents to look at life in a different light and reminds them to slow down and REALLY look at the beauty around.  They feel very fortunate to have a great support system consisting of family, friends, therapists, teachers, and coaches.  They are also thankful for the friendships they have made since joining a local Autism Support group.  They are very proud of Isabella and the progress that she is making on this Autism journey!

The Faces of Autism/Sisters Sammie and Sonja

You have met Sammie and Sonja individually, and their stories are very similar.  In case you weren't aware, they are twins.  Both with Autism.  Their mother may very well be my hero.

Sammie and Sonja's speech wasn't coming along as expected.  Their parents thought it was just a speech delay, they never even thought Autism and didn't know much about it.  Like most people, they associated Autism with things like no eye contact or lack of affection.  After someone had told them they thought the girls had Autism, they did research and realized they had many red flags.  

Both Sammie and Sonja are extremely affectionate.  Sammie is amazing at figuring things out on her own and is an avid animal lover.  Sonja is a great friend to others and tries her best to help her little brother out when he needs it.

Having twins is difficult, as any parent of multiples will tell you.  Having twins who both carry an Autism diagnosis is incredibly hard.  You have all the challenges of having a child with Autism, but twice, and at the same time.  Balancing two nearly identical therapy programs and communicating with around 20 therapists and special educational professionals is exhausting.

Even with all the difficulties and struggles their mother has this to say: "I am so grateful they both have Autism. They connect in their own world in a way they would never be able to without sharing it (the diagnosis). I don't ever have to worry about them being isolated because they understand eachother perfectly."

PS. The girls weren't really enthusiastic about me taking a photo of them together.  I tried twice.  So these are from last spring!