Why we love what we do
The CDC in 2013 released new findings stating that their previous number of 1 in 88 kids in the USA with Autism is wrong. The new number they released is that Autism affects 1 in 68 kids in the USA. Recently I read it affects 1 in 29 boys in New Jersey. That number is so alarming and scary. I hope after reading his story, seeing the pictures and watching the videos you will also be inspired by him and how far he has come. Help us to help others spread Autism Awareness and maybe, just maybe doctors can find a cause and a cure in his lifetime.
Over the last few years my family’s life has changed dramatically. The highs and lows that a normal person can experience seem like nothing compared to the news that your child is sick. Not just sick with a cold or fever, but a real illness. An illness that would be hard for any parent to comprehend. Knowing that it is going to be difficult for your child to prosper mentally and physically. To have to endure brain seizures and of course being autistic is shocking and almost unbearable. In today’s advancement in health care there are medicines and therapies that can help children grow and socially thrive. Unfortunately, the problem of course is when someone says your child is Autistic. There are no known causes or cures available. No Cause!! No Cure!!! How can that be possible? Well, it is. This dreadful news is catastrophic to any parent and with this news along comes the expense that no family should ever have to bear. Therapy, doctors’ visits, and medicine are by no means cheap. It can put a family into bankruptcy.
Recently, I went online to look for a t-shirt for a parent that had a child with autism. I could not find anything I really liked at an affordable price. I also became aware that there are many people who sell shirts and other autistic items who simply make money off of people’s misfortunes without giving back. So, I was motivated to create AidanInspired. Born out of my need to help raise awareness and hopefully donate a steady stream of money to organizations who are directly helping families like ours. Not to just survive the news that our child is autistic, but helping them to survive the financial obligations that come with autism. Without the consistent therapy that Aidan has received and continues to receive he would be a different kid today.
Take a moment to read Aidan’s story. I am sure he will inspire you and touch your heart. Aidan has the ability to affect everyone he meets these days in a very positive way. If you ask him what sport he wants to play when he gets older, his answer is “football” like his older brothers. He often likes to wrestle with older kids. He has a passion for school buses as well as singing. Aidan is almost always smiling. He likes playing games, enjoys hanging out with his older brothers, and all of their friends. He loves watching Youtube videos, and of course playing with his matchbox cars and buses.
Aidan was born on October 27, 2008. It was a normal pregnancy and although a Cesarean birth, it was normal as mother and baby were fine. At about 6 months of age, my wife and I started to notice him not growing or gaining weight. We took him to a specialist in order to determine what was wrong. At first we were told he will just be a small child. He was put on a special formula and life continued. On February 20, 2010 Aidan had his first seizure. The doctor at the time lacked a good bedside manner. Not being happy with the answers we were getting locally we contacted Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Luckily, we were able to convince them to see him for his seizures as well as his failure to grow. It was really at this point that my wife and I also noticed as did his doctors at CHOP that he stopped trying to speak, liked to spin in circles, did not respond to his name, and basically exhibited signs that fell into the autism spectrum. His GI doctor diagnosed him with Failure to Thrive Disorder and he was immediately put on a feeding tube. The doctor explained that Aidan’s body did not convert calories to pounds as a normal child should. His neurologist put him on anti-seizure medications and referred us to a genetics doctor, an allergist, as well as child development doctors at CHOP.
At 27 months old we were told that Aidan is functioning at a 3-6 month old level with language skills, severely delayed and that his social engagement for communication is minimal. Feb 24, 2011 Aidan went for early autism screening. We had already started early intervention therapy. He was having speech, occupational therapy and behavioral therapy.
At 28 months he was diagnosed with Autism. He had a Childhood Autism Rating Scale of 47.5 and had a severe range of Autism symptoms. We were told that with his other health issues and medications he was taken, there was no way for them to predict how severe his autism could be. There were no models to go by. Needless to say we were devastated to hear this. The ride home from Philly that day was long and quiet.
34 months and classified as non verbal. He does not understand much when being spoken to. He does start to learn sign language
November 1, 2011 Aidan starts full time in an Autistic classroom. One of the best programs in the country right here in Brick, N.J.
March 19, 2012- Aidan attempts to be verbal. Daddy is again the first word. It was the only word he had when his autism took away his voice. You really could not understand almost anything he was saying but we were hopeful that maybe one day we could communicate with him. In october of 2012 we're told he has the speech skills of a 2 year old, mainly repeating words he hears. For many parents, hearing this would be a bad thing, but for us it meant hope. Hope that one day he might be able to say hi, or goodbye, or I'm hungry, or a simple I love you.
Over the next year Aidan has lots of in home and at school therapy. He has become a very social child wanting to play with other kids. Loves going on the school bus and while you can't understand all he has to say, he talks up a storm. Music has become very important to him as he watches videos and sings along. His vocabulary has grown beyond anything we had imagined and we are pleasantly surprised by what comes out of his mouth. He holds conversations, asks for things, answers questions, plays with other kids, and while he still has health issues and takes medication daily, he has become increasingly more mainstream. His teachers are even talking about putting him into mainstream kindergarten next year. Oh, and yes, along with everything else that comes out of his mouth, he says hello, goodbye, I want food, and I love you on a daily basis. We are very lucky.