There's nothing more monumental and frightening than bringing home your first child. Nick was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen. I loved to watch him sleep, couldn't wait till he woke up and my husband and I fought over changing his diaper until the 50th diaper in 5 days was tossed. The kid pooped way too much and the novelty was over. Nick appeared to be like every other child in his first year.
When Nicholas was 16 months old I started noticing he wasn't talking, had no eye contact, was watching "Baby Mozart" out of the corner of his eyes, walking in the patterns of our oriental rug, lining his dinosaurs in perfect rows, couldn't stand to be touched and had difficulty with textures.
My instincts kicked in and I started to watch him closely. I took him to his pediatrician which sent him to a speech therapist. Nick's future would soon be changed forever as he was bounced from one doctor to the next and soon into myriad therapies from speech, occupational and physical therapy to name a few. I knew what was next; a diagnosis of Autism.
My baby. My sweet Nicholas. "Autism will not take my Nicky from me!" I bought every book off the shelf at Barnes and Noble and began my quest to save my son. I followed Karen Seroussi's book ("Unraveling the Mysteries of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder") like insulin to a diabetic. We began a long regimen of supplements, diet restriction (gluten and casein free) and therapy. I didn't know what to expect for his future but it would soon pay off.
The next year was nothing less than a miracle. He looked at his father and I one day and said "airplaan" as he pointed to his dads model airplane across the room. Nick looked into my eyes for the first time and I knew he would be O.K. His speech and eye contact developed rapidly as I continued my quest. I was like a mad scientist finding the cure for autism from reading books on biochemistry, calling Universities, reaching out to Doctors and joining The Autistic Society of America. Nothing mattered more than bringing Nicky back.
The next few years were chaotic and the end of my marriage but Nick was on fire! The kid developed the vocabulary of an English professor and could rival any adult conversation. He's thrived in school and beat the odds that his teachers predicted.
Autism has given him a rare gift. He sees the good in all, has the compassion of a saint, is as funny as Conan O'Brien,who he loves, is as honest as Abe Lincoln and loves his family more than any person I have ever known. I am so proud to be his mother and wish every parent who struggles with autistic children to know that love and perseverance can conquer all the negativity in the world. Nicky is a living testament of that. God bless.
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