Jaxon was your typical developing child, single words before he was a year old, requesting things, telling you how old he was, saying mom and dad, etc. However, when he was just over 18 months old he lost what we considered "normal" language and started speaking in what is called echolalia. Jaxon continued with this type of language for what seemed like forever. We got him into speech therapy when he was 2 ½ years old (that is how long it took our doctor to realize that something was wrong, although I kept asking over and over again why his speech was getting worse instead of better). Speech therapy helped a little bit, but not much. Jaxon was diagnosed with Autism when he was 3. Children's hospital suggested that we continue speech therapy but didn’t have any other suggestions as to how to work through his difficulties. Five months later we began our journey with biomedical treatment and just a few weeks into his treatment plan he began speaking again. Jaxon was talking in sentences within a few months.
Not all children are as lucky as Jaxon; some live their entire lives without speaking as much as a few sentences or words. As parents, we are the ones that suffer alongside our children. We hurt when they hurt, we get frustrated when they get frustrated, and we cry when we don’t or can’t understand what they are trying so desperately to tell us. This month is Autism Awareness, anyone who has been dealt the card of Autism is aware of it every single day. Let’s hope that we can make others aware of how desperately we need ACTION.
National Autism Association. (2013). Autism facts sheet.
Available online at: http://nationalautismassociation.org/resources/autism-fact-sheet/