The Faces of the Autism Spectrum: Meet Cade.


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Introducing Cade!

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This is my Cade.
He was diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum when he was 4…he is now 8. Our road began when we noticed some “out of the ordinary” behaviors that we had not seen with his older brother.  Cade enjoyed playing alone, often had issues with things out of the ordinary, and reciprocal interaction was few and far between.  We went in to get advice with his pediatrician, and to see if there was more than just “quirky” behavior.  After a battery of assessments, Cade was diagnosed on the Spectrum with PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder). Cade’s biggest challenge is finding his role in social interactions.  Social overtures do not come easy, but everyday he amazes us.  Each day may bring challenges, but we love growing and learning with him constantly!  He is enrolled in ABA Therapy, in which he truly shows his leadership abilities in his group.  

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Cade is a FABULOUS artist and LOVES creating.  He belongs to the schools Lego Robotics Club, and can create some pretty cool things.  He is a WONDERFUL artist.  His creativity has been showcased  in art shows and contests.  He has won numerous accolades for his abilities.  As we struggle with his disability daily, his father, brother and I, also learn what it may be like to see the world through his eyes.  He has come such a long way.  Cade is energetic, passionate, and has great leadership potential.  Thank you so much for the opportunity and allowing people to educate what “being on the spectrum” really consist of.   Cade is willing to persist in the face of obstacles, tenacious, goal-oriented and is my ROCK STAR!  He is proof that these kids CAN achieve great things, and be mainstreamed and included just like any other child.

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If you are interested in sharing your journey with Autism to help raise awareness of the diversity of the Autism Spectrum Disorder, please email your story and pictures to april at picturedmomentsbyapril dot com. or you can contact me directly through my business webpage, Pictured Moments By April. Thank you!

 

The {Famous} Faces of the Autism Spectrum: Carly Fleischmann


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Meet Carly!

 

This experience is viewed through the eyes of Carly Fleischmann, a 17 year old girl living with non-verbal Autism.  Based on an excerpt from the book Carly’s Voice: Breaking through Autism, it explores how, for someone with autism, a simple act like going for a coffee can descend into chaos.  Carly’s Café was developed as an interactive video that allows the user to experience Autism from the inside-out, visit carlyscafe.com to enjoy the full experience.

You can get to know Carly more by following her via social media:  @carlysvoice on Twitter and Carlys Voice on Facebook .

If you are interested in sharing your journey with Autism to help raise awareness of the diversity of the Autism Spectrum Disorder, please email your story and pictures to april at picturedmomentsbyapril dot com. or you can contact me directly through my business webpage, Pictured Moments By April. Thank you!

The Faces of the Autism Spectrum: Meet Hannah!


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Introducing Hannah!

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Our life with autism
I was a very young mother, however when my first born Hannah arrived at a healthy 8lb 3oz, I couldn’t have been happier.  She was perfect!  I read every single pregnancy book and every baby book and followed every bit of advice.  But from early on there were signs.  Hannah would cry, for hours, I would hold her and she would cry, put her down, and she would cry.  There were also sleep issues.  Of course I knew sleep would be hard to come by, but this was different, Hannah would stay up most of the night, and sometimes all night.  Family told me how sometimes babies can get their days and nights mixed up.  So I just accepted the advice.  As she got older, I noticed she was behind normal age of sitting, crawling, walking.  Not by much, maybe a month or two.  Again, I accepted the advice of…you hold her too much.  But still in my heart, something didn’t feel right.  While waiting for her 18 month checkup, I noticed others her age were talking some.  Hannah had yet to try anything more than “mama” and “dada”.  I once again was told how some kids talk later than others and I was worrying for nothing, it was just because I was a new mom.  So I vowed, I will give it time, if she still isn’t progressing by 2, I will talk to her doctor.  Hannah seen a speech pathologist 1 week before her 2nd birthday.  We were told that her play skills are excellent, but she was behind on speech.  A week after her 2nd birthday we moved to Alaska.  I immediately set up appointments.  We enrolled in a project teach program and had a visitor once a week who worked with Hannah and helped teach me ways to help at home.  I did everything and more.  I made flip books and flash cards, set a schedule.  But still, no speech, and still experienced sleep and behavior problems.  We then had our first hearing test which came back with no results because she couldn’t sit and hated the headset.  At 3 Hannah transferred into the school district.  She attended part day preschool 5 days a week.  She received speech, occupational and physical therapy.  Her teachers and aids were amazing!

On Halloween night, a month after her 3rd birthday, Hannah said “hello” for the first time.  I was so excited and tears were pouring.  We then had our 2nd hearing test, same results.  We were then sent to Anchorage from Fairbanks for another hearing test.  This time she was put to sleep for accurate results.  Her hearing was fine.  Next came blood work.  She was tested for fragile x syndrome 3 times due to lab error.  The results were negative.  She was progressing great, but we were still met with many challenges.  We met with a child neurologist when she was 3 1/2.  He made trips to Fairbanks to meet with families.  He reported a significant delay.  Shortly after Hannah’s 4th birthday we had an IEP meeting at school.  During the meeting, a teacher mentioned “kids with autism”.  Then shortly after another teacher did as well.  I said…”Hannah’s autistic?!?!”  Of course they informed me that they cannot diagnose her, but she shows tendencies.  I couldn’t believe it!  Of all the things, autism never even crossed my mind.  I still had this idea of what autism was.  That she would have some special ability.  I returned home from her IEP and immediately called her pediatrician.  He put in a referral to Tricare and we started scheduling appointments in Anchorage.  We were sent down for a few days of testing.  At the end, we met in a board room and we were told that in fact, our little girl was autistic.  I remember at first tearing up.  Then it hit me, we HAD a diagnosis!  I turned to our neurologist and said, “what’s next”.

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Today, Hannah is 14.  I almost can’t believe it.  She’s wonderful!  Beautiful, fun, strong-willed.  We’ve been blessed with amazing teachers who have helped her excel even more.  She’s changed so much.  While we still don’t have much clear speech, she’s quick to tell you all about her interests.  She loves ninja turtles, Disney and monster high.  The little girl who never slept, will remind you on the weekends that it’s getting late.  Our picky eater, will try almost anything.  She still enjoys time alone and we have to occasionally push her boundaries to get her to participate in new things.  She still has some dislikes, anything “scary” and certain songs that come on the radio, but who doesn’t.  Also learning what’s appropriate conversation, so we work on social circles.  Life skills are still ongoing.  Such as washing hair, using the microwave, and counting money.
There was a short moment when Hannah was 12 when I realized all the things she likely wouldn’t get to experience…first kiss, marriage, having children of her own.  But then I seen so much more.  She has so many friends. Peers who care about her and include her.  Kids that greet her in the halls at school or in line at the store and even come over to give her a hug.  She has a magnetic personality.  Family that loves her so very much. Two brothers and a sister that despite being younger than her, are quick to help.  She is so much more than a diagnosis to everyone she encounters.  She is Hannah.  The young lady who carries her dolls everywhere, who cries at a sad song and can infect you with her laughter.  Who sings, dances and does “Kung fu”.  Who loves wearing dresses, painting her nails, and wearing purple eye shadow.  Who isn’t self conscious and doesn’t judge others.  She is Hannah and she’s perfect!

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If you are interested in sharing your journey with Autism to help raise awareness of the diversity of the Autism Spectrum Disorder, please email your story and pictures to april at picturedmomentsbyapril dot com.  or you can contact me directly through my business webpage, Pictured Moments By April.  Thank you!

The Faces of the Autism Spectrum: Meet Jesse!


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Introducing Jesse

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I’d like you to meet Jesse. He’s an amazing six year old boy that has fought hard to be where he is today. At his 12 month appointment I told his pediatrician that I was concerned that he wasn’t even attempting to speak. I was told that he was a boy, he was an only child, and that he would talk when he was ready. The same thing happened at his 15 month appointment. At his 18 month check up, I was still concerned and also pointed out that his toenails were curved upwards. They looked like little cups. I was told that it was a normal part of development and to quit worrying. The doctor even waived his file at me and said “This is one of the healthiest kids we have in the practice! Quit worrying!”

Two weeks later, Jesse had a seizure while sitting in my lap on the living room floor. I called the doctor’s office and described what happened and was given an appointment with the first available pediatrician. We saw a doctor I had never seen before but he immediately agreed with the concerns I had about Jesse’s lack of speech. He ordered a full round of tests in order to find out what caused the seizure and put in a referral for speech therapy. Even at his speech evaluation, I was told there was no way he was autistic. Between 18 months and 2 years, Jesse declined developmentally. While there was some small progress made in speech and we had started using sign language to communicate, more and more behaviors were popping up that caused a concern. In September, my husband came from for R&R to celebrate Jesse’s 2nd birthday. While out to breakfast one day, we ordered Jesse a pancake and when I cut into it he had a total and complete meltdown.

At his next speech session, I told his therapist about the meltdown and showed her his toenails. They were curved upward because Jesse was toe walking. I remember her nodding and I knew it was time to push forward with getting the diagnosis.

It’s amazing how this all lined up for us. That doctor that I saw after Jesse’s seizure was a developmental pediatrician and an autism expert. Within two months we had completed the evaluations and been given the official diagnosis of “Infantile Autism“. I was told to immerse him in therapy and hope for the best but to be prepared for the worst. I ignored the part about being prepared for the worst and began to prepare for battle.

Jesse added ABA therapy, Occupational Therapy, Early Intervention, and also began a developmental preschool that included him in a class with typical peers. He quickly became the busiest two year old I have ever met.

I’ve had to learn to find my voice. Sitting back and letting things happen were no longer an option, I have a child that can’t advocate for himself so I had to learn how to do that. I’ve had to argue with therapists when I felt they were out of line, I’ve had to request meetings with principals and directors and wave laws around in front of them so they knew they couldn’t just let Jesse slide through the system. The picture I attached was included in a letter sent to Congress in a plea for them to include ABA therapy coverage for all military members. I have become an advocate for Jesse as well as the autism community in general and happily support others that are on this journey.

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Jesse is currently in a mainstream kindergarten classroom. He’s reading, writing, doing math, has a quick sense of humor and the greatest laugh I’ve ever heard. He loves everybody, especially babies, and happily hands out hugs – even if you don’t want one. We are still using ABA therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy and he’s now the busiest 6 year old I know.

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It’s important for you to know that he’s also the happiest 6 year old I know. He struggles with textures when it comes to food and clothing and he’s very sensitive to loud noises or crowded situations. He becomes over stimulated easily and doesn’t know how to properly bring himself back to center. He wants to be a friend to everybody and doesn’t understand when that feeling isn’t mutual. He wants to hug everybody he meets. He repeats scenes from his favorite shows at inappropriate times and he’ll talk forever about dinosaurs if you let him. He needs warnings when the situation he is in is about to change. He’ll learn quickly weather or not you really mean no if you say it so say what you mean and mean what you say. He claims to be allergic to homework and naps. As of right now, he wants to be a lion when he grows up – since he knows he is going to get “fur” and larger teeth, it just makes sense. He loves to run so much that they use it as a reward at school. When he finishes his math, he gets to run laps! He loves the beach, the sun, the sand — three years ago he wouldn’t touch sand, now he makes sand angels every chance he gets. He ate turkey on Thanksgiving for the first time last year, and yesterday on Easter he ate ham for the first time. His milestones might happen later than most, but they are happening and I know they will continue to do so.

But he’s happy.

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If you are interested in sharing your journey with Autism to help raise awareness of the diversity of the Autism Spectrum Disorder, please email your story and pictures to april @ picturedmomentsbyapril dot com.  Thank you!

The {Famous} Faces of the Autism Spectrum: Surfer Clay Marzo


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Introducing Clay Marzo

 

 

Inspired?  Here is Clay’s website http://www.claymarzo.com/ for more information.  You can fan Clay on Facebook and follow him on Twitter too if you would like to get to know him better and watch him in action.

Faces of the Autism Spectrum: Meet Bekkah


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Meet Bekkah

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I was 35 years old when Rebekkah was born. She has 2 older brothers, Ed was 14 and Steve was 11 when she came along. We tried for a long time to have her, and even did 6 months of Clomid. She was tiny, bald, beautiful and perfect. Looking back now, I feel terribly guilty about a lot of things. Before I knew I was pregnant, my back went out. ER and a shot of Tordol and I was good as new. Now I wonder if the shot didn’t affect her. After a bath when she was 4 mos old she slipped out of my arms and landed on her head. Careflight and skull fracture. More guilt.
Bekkah didn’t begin speaking til she was about 13 mos old. Walking about 15 mos. I did notice some pretty bad tantrums when she got upset. Thought it was a girl thing, and shrugged it off. She seemed ‘normal’, but was hyper and fussy late in the afternoon.
She started regular school in Kinder, and was placed with a wonderful teacher. Miss Lee was awesome! She observed Bekkah and asked us if they could test her for ADHD. That was her first diagnosis. She was prescribed Adderol and it was amazingly effective for a while.
As first grade commenced the faculty suspected there were other issues as well. Again they asked our permission to test her, this time for Autism. She had all of the classic symptoms and behaviors. I really at first thought they tailored the test to her behaviors, but soon realized that they were just common Autistic behaviors. I was floored! More guilt. The medication remained the same, dosage went up a couple of times as she grew.
If there is such a thing as a ‘typical’ Aspergers child, Bekkah is it! She is incredibly intelligent, science and math are her strong subjects. She is just now beginning to enjoy reading, now that she has discovered Harry Potter. Her handwriting is so bad that one of her accommodations at school is that she can use the computer for any written assignments. She and her Daddy love Legos, and she has a billion if she has one.
As a child her Daddy was just like her according to him and his family, but of course back then he was just lazy and antisocial. Less guilt for me now.
Towards the end of 2nd grade her teacher noticed she would stare off into space for long periods of time. Sometimes she would come back by herself and sometimes they had to intervene. Her pediatrician said it was Absence Seizures. New fear. By the time we could get her in for a sleep study and to see a Neurologist, the seizures started to manifest themselves physically with shaking along with the staring. The sleep study showed she was having more than 100 seizures per hour.
Her Ped changed her Adderol to Vyvance, and put her on Lamictol and Zorontin. She has been seizure free since the dosages were dialed in. She will be able to stop the Epilepsy meds if she continues seizure free fore one more year.
We tried to find extra curricular activities for Bekkah to participate in, but I have always been afraid that outside of her school friends, others might pick on or bully her. We went to the North Texas Irish Festival one year and she watched the Irish Dancers. She tried to get in line with them to go on stage and dance, and I had to explain to her that she didn’t know how to do the dances. She cried and said ” but mama, I want to know how to dance”. So we signed her up for lessons.

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She is blossoming as an Irish Step dancer! The other girls in her class are very patient with her when her attention wanders or she misses steps. The teacher, Miss Emily is wonderful with her and she has won a medal or two in competition!

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Bekkah is hilariously funny. She can tease and tell jokes. She likes the reaction she gets from other people when she is trying to be funny. But if she is serious about what she is saying, and someone laughs she gets very upset. She doesn’t get jokes or good natured teasing either. She is very literal, and will correct you telling you to get your facts straight.
We were discussing a big rain storm we had recently and how suddenly it began. I said that it was raining cats and dogs. She looked at me, furrowed her brow, went to the window and said. I don’t see any cats and dogs…just rain. I then said are you sure? Cause I think I stepped in a poodle. Again with the furrowed brow, and she said Mom, you can’t step in a poodle, you have to step on the poodle, and that wouldn’t be very nice cause you could hurt him…..
She loves to sing, and knows the words to all the pop songs on the radio and most of the songs on the classic rock sonic channel on directive. She lets me sing with her, but Dads don’t sing or dance so he isn’t allowed to.
Bekkah is 11 now and she has some other strange ideas that I can’t quite figure out. Her oldest brother is now 25 and he lives with his girlfriend in Utah. Bekkah doesn’t like her because brothers can’t have girlfriends cause they are just brothers and that’s all. Steve and his girl are living together and they have 2 kids. Bekkah doesn’t like them either cause brothers can’t be Daddys. Quirky,quacky duck!!
She fixates on certain things. Legos. Mario brothers, ninja turtles, minecraft. For a while she was watching YouTube Videos of kids playing Mario bros games. She picked up some very inappropriate language and when she used a phrase at School,and we found out, she was no longer allowed to watch YouTube. She didn’t even know what she said or why it was bad, because mama drinks tea, and she buys tea bags all the time…
Every day with her is a joy and a challenge. I worry about middle school next year, as there are several elementary schools that will combine. I don’t trust that the other faculties have been as diligent as ours has to make sure every one is kind to each other. Our school has an all female faculty, including the janitorial staff. There are lots if male teachers at the middle school, she has never had one, so I’m not sure how well she will accept a male teacher. After all, she could have it in her mind that only women can be teachers.

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Sorry this is so long, there is still tons more to tell about her…

The Faces of the Autism Spectrum: Meet Bryce!


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Introducing Bryce!

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Our journey into the world of autism happened a little bit later than most. My name is Rebecca Everett and my husband is Mel. Our oldest son, Bryce was 9 years old and in 3rd grade when his teacher called us in for a conference to share with us that he was having some “social challenges”. Bryce wanted to make friends so badly, the other kids found him obnoxious. After the conference, for the next week or so, ‘Asperger’s Syndrome‘ was EVERYWHERE I turned! In magazine articles, on a new show called “Parenthood”, news programs…. the list went on and on. I knew in my heart that I needed to research Asperger’s for myself. As soon as I started reading, it was incredible how much of it applied to Bryce! The more I read and the more I looked back on his toddler years, the more it made sense to me; the lining up of matchbox cars, making little ‘islands’ of cars in my living room that couldn’t be touched, the literal thinking, the meltdowns, the lack of common sense! The feeling of being a bad mommy was overwhelming! I couldn’t believe I hadn’t realized this sooner. How could his teacher see this, but I couldn’t?
 
Bryce was evaluated over the next few months, and finally we had a diagnosis of Asperger’s and Anxiety Disorder. He is very high functioning, so for me to not have realized his “quirks” were anything more than just quirks was understandable. He was so neat and meticulous when he would play with his matchbox cars, that when his little brother, Aydan came along (they’re 17 months apart) and matchbox cars were flying through the house like they’re supposed to, I wondered what was wrong with Aydan! Ha!
 
After the diagnosis, I was desperate to learn more and to meet other parents that understood what we were going through. I asked our pediatrician, my primary care physician, the psychologist that diagnosed Bryce, anybody I could think of for support group information. There was nothing in our town! So, for a couple months, Bryce and I would drive an hour away to FAU CARD to attend a KIDZ CLUB – Social Skills Group and Parent Networking. It was hard to make any ‘friends’ because there were different kids each time, and I never really connected with any of the parents. Eventually the program ended because of funding cuts.
 
I decided to start my own support group! I came up with a name: Puzzled Families of Indian River and designed a logo. I contacted FAU CARD to let them know what I was doing and they sent out an email to all the Indian River County families they had in their system. That was almost 2 years ago! We meet once a month, sometimes with Guest Speakers on specific topics and sometimes it’s just a social evening to vent, share, and cry. It’s so nice to have a consistent group of parents that “get it!”
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Bryce is very smart and gets A’s in school. He is 12 years old now and in 6th grade. He’s very rule-oriented, so if it’s his turn to be the ‘pencil sharpener’, then nobody else is touching the sharpener that week! He enjoys reading, loves LEGOs, and plays Minecraft with his friends online. He loves Disney and all the roller coasters. We don’t participate in team sports because he is always bullied. He plays tennis and golf, both sports he can excel at his own pace. He has a great sense of humor and brings laughter to our family every day.  Every puzzle piece looks and fits different, so if someone doesn’t “look” or “act” the way autism is perceived, it doesn’t mean they don’t face their own challenges every day.
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The Faces of the Autism Spectrum: Meet Owen!


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Meet Owen!

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“Hello fellow Spectrum families! My name is Beth Steggall and my husband Matt and I have a handsome little guy Owen. Owen is three, and suffered a brain injury at birth which resulted in him having a seizure disorder and cerebral palsy. He later developed craniosynostosis resulting in cranio/facial reconstructive surgery at 6 months of age. Among these disorders Owen also has speech, physical, and developmental delays. When Owen turned two he qualified to participate in the inclusion classroom setting with TEIS (Tennessee Early Intervention Services). We were so excited that he was able to begin services here, because he was really struggling with social anxiety in pretty much every setting. Once Owen started services we all began to see significant changes in behavior. Our early interventionist recommended that we have him evaluated through CAPS (Child Adolescent Psychological Services) on Ft. Campbell, because she felt he was also demonstrating autistic behaviors.

Matt and I really struggled with identifying and labeling Owen’s behavioral issues. Was it disability or was it autistic behavior? Owen has extreme texture problems to the point he would make himself vomit and gag on non-preferred textures. He still refuses to eat anything wet to the touch and is extremely sensitive to people touching him outside of our immediate family. He has rhythmic self stimulatory pattern behaviors involving clapping and biting his own hands. If we ever have to step out of his routine in any fashion, it is misery for everyone around him. All of these behaviors are classic spectrum behaviors. Owen struggles with effectively communicating his wants and needs because of his speech deficit, yet cognitively he identifies and knows he can’t express what he wants. (Owen was also non-verbal until age three and his speech is still a huge work in progress.) Dr. Clark at CAPS diagnosed Owen with a spectrum disorder PDD-NOS (pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified), which qualifies Owen for ABA and respite care services.

Owen receives speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and ABA therapy weekly. All of our therapists have been such blessings, but ABA has hands down been the biggest. After interviewing multiple ABA candidates, we ultimately went with Pastiche Partners out of Nashville, Tamar Robinson and Jane Barnes have been a God send. Our ABA therapists have done everything from grocery shopping with us, going out to eat with us as a family, and assisting Owen in both private and public school settings-there are no limits to the areas in which they will assist. All of these areas are the most problematic for our family. Owen was completely non-verbal until we has ABA. Essentially the ABA therapists’ facilitate the means and the knowledge on how to effectively address problem behaviors and how to address them with spectrum challenged children. (Inadvertently our typically developing 2 year old daughter Quin as well!) ABA has ultimately provided for Owen the function and benefits of speaking, and appropriate responses to non preferred places, people, and things. With the collaboration of our ABA therapist I confidently say that Owen’s problematic behaviors, social anxiety, and social inequities have improved 100 percent in comparison to that of a year ago. Instead of just winging it all the time we now have a game plan and know how to effectively “handle” our child, and if we are struggling with him, Tamar or Jane are just a phone call away.

Our biggest struggle at this point is really been receiving the appropriate services and placement options within the public school here in Clarksville. I cannot even begin to tell you the non-compliance regarding special needs children and the district here. (This subject is an entire different conversation.) The most effective and beneficial thing for Owen has been exposure. Exposure to those settings and situations that he struggles in most. We have him enrolled in the public school three days a week and then in private school two days a week. It has been vital that we expose Owen to typically developing peers in an attempt to bridge that gap regarding Owen‘s non-verbal issues and social inequities. We were able to do with the assistance of our ABA therapists and their willingness to assist Owen in this setting and with his bathroom needs. Every opportunity we have to consistently expose Owen to typically developing children in a controlled environment i.e. church, private school, and play dates, we do. Consistency and familiarity to these peers and environments have been vital in Owen’s developmental success.

It is definitely a struggle from day to day but our Owen has overcome some many battles and has done it with great ease. He is the sweetest, most compassionate, and loving little boy. My biggest advice is to just “find your child’s happy.” Owen’s happy is watching The Backyardigans or Yo Gabba Gabba, playing iPad, and being outside. He doesn’t really have an imagination and that is common with spectrum kids. Our normal isn’t everyone else’s normal, and that is ok. The best thing you can do for you as a parent and for a family with a spectrum child is, accept it. Accept that our lives our different, our children’s behaviors will be different, but just facilitate the means to curb our children’s inequities with the resources available. Owen is an awesome kid, I truly wouldn’t change him if I could. Matt and I just embrace his deficits and focus on his strengths, and reassure him it’s ok to be unique.”

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What does the Autism Spectrum look like?


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In an effort to raise awareness about Autism this month, I chose to focus on the actual SPECTRUM of Autism.  In my short journey so far, I’ve found that stereotypes control most of what our society perceives Autism to be.  Sometimes the stereotypes apply to a person, however, often times they do not.

When we gradually started sharing our daughter Kylie’s diagnosis, the number one response was: “but she doesn’t LOOK autistic”, followed by “but she doesn’t ACT autistic”, closely ranked before “but she doesn’t SEEM autistic”.  These responses became so common – even from close friends and family members – that I often found myself doubting the diagnosis and my gut instinct about my daughter all together.  The more I researched though, and the more assessments and evaluations we endured, I realized that people are not very educated about Autism at all.  Sadly, even professionals in the medical field that are designated to work with children with Autism are not always educated about the true spectrum of symptoms, and instead rely on their stereotypes of what society describes as Autism.

The reason so many people thought Kylie didn’t LOOK, ACT, or SEEM autistic, is because they didn’t know what children on all parts of the spectrum of Autism LOOK, ACT, and SEEM like.  They assumed they all LOOKED, ACTED, and SEEMED the same.  So, for Autism Awareness month this April, I hope to change the way people see Autism.  I will be sharing many different faces of Autism this month – varying ages, girls and boys, men and women, from different communities, at different places along the spectrum.  Their stories are all unique – their symptoms are not the same. Just like pieces to a puzzle that we are all still seeking to understand completely, together they are the Autism SPECTRUM.

Stay tuned for some beautiful faces of Autism this month, and if you would be interested (and willing) to open up and share your journey with us please contact me through my business webpage www.picturedmomentsbyapril.co or email me at mypicturedmoments at yahoo dot com.  Send me a synopsis of your story and a picture or two and I will respond with more information if we are able to feature your story.  If you’re a parent struggling to find what you want to say, here are some key points:  Introduce your child, what do they love, what do they excel at, what are their biggest challenges, and of course the typical road to Autism diagnosis type information. What were the flags, what are the symptoms, how did a diagnosis come about, what therapies have helped, what obstacles have they overcome, what does the future look like, and how this has affected the parents/family as well.  Hope that helps and thank you so much for volunteering to share your journey and help raise awareness of the diversity of the Autism Spectrum!

Don’t forget to follow @KYLIEISMS1 on Twitter too for some giggles and occasional information share🙂

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Featured Faces This Month:

Flat Stanley visits Fort Campbell, Kentucky


Hello Mrs. Lewis!

This is Stanley reporting back to you from Fort Campbell, KY.  My friend Chloe sent me here to visit her cousin Kylie and I have had a great time!  Fort Campbell is a military base located on the state line dividing Kentucky and Tennessee, however, since the post office happens to be located on the Kentucky side of the base, Kentucky is the official “address”.

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The weather here right now is COLD!  There is snow on the ground for winter time, although flowers start peeking through the ground for spring very soon.  Summers are very HOT – sometimes over 100 degrees.  Fall is beautiful with colorful leaves falling from the trees and breezy, cool weather.

Being a military base, there are many different cultures.  Families move in and out of the area often too.  Kylie wanted to make sure I felt right at home while I was visiting, so she made me my very own Army uniform to wear!

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She took me to see a memorial on the Army post and we spent time checking out old military aircraft too.  She even let me “fly” an old helicopter!

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Next, she took me to meet some HEROES that live at Fort Campbell!  They were very nice soldiers that wanted to meet me and take a picture with me.  I made sure to thank them for volunteering to serve in the military and protect our country too.

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Kylie wanted to introduce me to a few of her own favorite people too.  We met the local Girl Scouts selling yummy cookies.  They wanted to meet me too!  We took a picture, donated to help wounded warriors, and I got to pose with a GIANT girlscout “cookie”.

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Last, but not least, Kylie gave me my very own “scout” patch for serving at Fort Campbell for the day!

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I had a wonderful time visiting with Chloe’s cousin, Kylie and I hope to come back soon!  Maybe next time, I could bring Chloe with me.  I know Kylie would love that the most.

Thank you for letting me explore Fort Campbell, Kentucky!