As I'm doing last minute preparations to leave for the weekend to walk in the Steps of Hope walk to raise awareness for Autism, I keep looking at this picture. This picture here is the whole reason I put all my extra free time, and energy into raising awareness for Autism. Anytime Brock asks for comfort I drop whatever I'm doing for sometimes 10 seconds of being able to hold him. When I became a mom I never imagined that this would be my reality, especially after having genetic testing done (due to pregnancy problems) and having nothing show up..and after the doctor laid this miracle on my chest for the first time..(because that's what each and every child born into this world is, a miraculous gift from God) and announced he had ten fingers, ten toes and was healthy as could be. The first year of Brock's life he was hitting milestones faster than most children, according to his doctors. When Brock turned one that slowly started to change. It was so subtle at first I didn't notice it right away, but by the time he was three years old he wasn't able to do things he previously was. I brought it up constantly to his doctor and was told that preschool aged children act out, three is worse than the terrible twos, and he'd eventually outgrow it. I knew in my heart his doctor was wrong, call it mothers intuition or whatever. There was a lot of waiting over the next few years until April 2014 we got the answers to all of our questions, after many tests were done by therapists. High functioning Autism or Aspergers depending which therapist you talk to. Brock rarely seeks comfort or affection out on his own and this day he was having a very rough day and said to me, "Mom can you please just hold me tight." And I held him harder than I've ever been able to hold him before. That was a few weeks ago, and he hasn't let me hold him as long as this, and that's ok, but he has laid on me for a few minutes here and there since. There are so many reasons to raise awareness, and this picture is one small, but very important part of it. People with Autism want love and affection just as much as the next person but don't always know how to ask for it. Brock has been able to get therapies through school, and out of school and they are very intense at times, for the past few months. Through these therapies he's been making so many improvements such as being able to recognize letters, sound out words, he's been working on perfecting writing his name, and his conversational skills especially have improved tremendously. He's able to tell me when he's mad, sad or even happy at times. There will likely be times he regresses, but that's all a part of this. Chances are he'll need these therapies throughout his life. Starting therapies at a younger age gives an even greater chance for these individuals to live an independent life. Making sure these other children who aren't as fortunate as Brock to have access to these therapies is and should be a top priority. We all want to see children succeed in their lives, and raising awareness and knocking out these ridiculous stigmas surrounding Autism spectrum disorders is number one. These aren't bad or spoiled children, these are children who can't communicate what they really need or want, and it is possible to help them. Everything donated to the Autism Society of Minnesota through the steps of hope walk, and other fundraising events they hold go directly to funding these therapies for these children and adults. I can't think of a better community to be involved in.
I'm trying something completely out of Brock's norm this weekend, and surprising him with staying at a hotel in the cities for this weekend before the walk. We'll be able to do pool therapy still, and relax..and my biggest surprise is taking him to the Science Musuem. Brock is obsessed with space and I'm so fortunate to be able give him this experience that will help him with his future. He told me yesterday he was going to space someday..and my reply was if anyone could make it to space Brock you could. He has determination like no other.