What a fun and smart little boy Mr. E turned out to be!
And yes! His eyes are that blue!!!
Mr. E’s favorite subject in school is Math. Loves Math! He also has a younger sister and brother and they all just love to play. :-)
Expressive and did not seem to be in the least bit shy.
E’s mom shares their story, and if you are a parent, guardian or grandparent of a child living with Autism, I am sure much of this story will be very familiar to you.
E was my first child and I had no idea he was different. He was beautiful, tiny, and perfect. He was a fussy baby but hit all his milestones. Our only problem with him was eating. He could not stand the texture of foods! He grew into a precocious child with adorable little quirks. He liked to arrange all his blocks and toys into perfect little lines. He had a laundry basket that he’d fill with the most useless junk – post-it notes, receipts, brochures, toys, socks, whatever he could get his hands on. He’d keep that basket with him and would know if anything was missing. He flapped his arms around like a litlte bird. Being our first child, we had no idea that this wasn’t normal development. We just assumed that these were his own little adorable quirks!
We didn’t know anyone else with small children at the time and had never heard of autism. It wasn’t until he was 3 that the differences became obvious. At that point, we had to put him into a daycare facility due to work schedules. We picked out a great place with a good ratio of kids to teachers, video cameras, key codes to enter, the works. It wasn’t long before the daycare operator began calling us to report trouble with him. It bewildered us to hear these reports of kicking, defiance, and lack of cooperation. One day she brought us in and had us observe him on the monitors so she could point out the behaviors and let us see how different it was from the other children. We sat and watched as the other kids played a game together. E would not join them but played happily in a corner of the room on his own. The teachers asked him to join the group for centers, and he refused and screamed when they tried to prod him that direction. They continued without him and he never even glanced to see what the other kids were doing. At nap time, the teacher had to physically place him on his mat. He refused and kicked her in the stomach. While all the other kids ate their lunches, he only picked up the beige foods. We had no idea he was so unable to interact with others and had no interest in his peers. He wanted absolutely nothing to do with them. Even then, it didn’t hit home for sure until a psychologist met with us. The signs that she went over all clicked. E never played with imaginary things. He never once picked up a block and pretended it was a phone. He never played as though something was alive. When presented with a dollhouse and family, he would only play with the furniture and house. He looked me and his Father in the eyes, but would not meet anyone else’s eyes. His tantrums, his hitting himself, inability to potty train, food adversions, noise aversion, hand flapping – all these things that we thought were just the terrible twos or quirks of his own, turned out to be symptoms of his autism.
Until then, I had never heard of Autism. Within months of diagnosis, we were able to get him on medications, speech, occupational, and physical therapies that helped him become the high functioning boy he is today. It scares me to think that if that daycare owner had not been aware and noticed the signs, he would be so much worse off now for lack of that early intervention. I certainly wasn’t aware. Today, he’s a bouncy, exuberant, super-verbal child with a variety of interests. Sure, he’s still a bit quirky to most folks, but he’s able to have his own life now and be somewhat self-sufficient. We now have hopes that he could succeed after school and into adulthood on his own. If his story and his picture can help spread the word, I hope that many many more can become aware so that more children can be helped sooner and give them the best chance at a successful life.
Early intervention is a major key in Autism. How blessed this family is to have such a wonderful daycare director, willing to do more than “Just her job!”
Mr. E’s opportunities in live changed because someone paid attention.