It’s funny how a year ago the thought of Autism was so far from my mind. On April 2, 2013 I had an assessment scheduled with our area Early Intervention office because Gavin was delayed in speech. He was 17 months old and was not babbling at all. In fact, he had actually had lost the speech he had developed months earlier, but still, I wasn’t worried. I mean Kendall didn’t start talking right away and we didn’t get her evaluation until she was 2 years old. I was so proud of myself for scheduling this earlier for Gavin so that he could hopefully be talking by the time he was two.
Gavin is now 30 months old and he is still non-verbal. He communicates strictly through signing, pointing and approximates about 10 words. Doug and I understand these sounds/words, along with his therapists, but to the outside world they wouldn’t know what he is trying to say. We have started to introduce communication boards into his routine. These communication boards have pictures of items he wants or needs. We can also use them to map out his day. Our ultimate goal is to have him communicating this same way, but through an Ipad or another type of tablet. The problem is the price of these apps and tablets. Hopefully organizations like Autism Speaks, the HollyRod Foundation, the National Autism Center, and other Autism centered charities can help raise funds to subsidize the cost for more families.
April is Autism Awareness Month and I encourage you to find someway this month to support Autism awareness programs. One in 66 children are affected by this disorder and we need to figure out why, how to stop it, and how to support those that are already on the spectrum. I didn’t go looking for this cause this cause came to me and I will do everything in my power to be the best advocate I can be for Gavin and for all of the other families.
Someone with Autism has taught me that love needs no words – anonymous