Let’s just cut to the chase, when you’re preparing to welcome a child into your world, one of the steps on the checklist usually does not consist of your child having Autism. For our family, we did not find out until Carter was five years old. This was three years after Carter had already had a peach size brain tumor, three separate brain surgeries, and during his road to recovery from that experience.
Of course there were always signs, things that Dr. Google would tell us about, but easily excused for the brain tumor. Things like constant repetition, not talking, or setting up his toys into categories. He also spent a lot of time playing with his fingers in front of his eyes in a certain way, what we now know is stemming. This was something we had noticed about Carter early on, but was quick to dismiss it once we found out about the brain tumor. The only person that continued to monitor and ask questions was his mother, Kelli.
However, there are things that just absolutely amaze us about Carter that we will not categorize of why it happens, just that it does. For instance, his memory is that to be amazed by. He can listen to a song one time, and knows the words and will walk around singing it for days or weeks. Movies, also his thing, stick in his head and he knows all the lines of every actor. Let’s not forget about his Ipad either. When he was just 6 he began watching shows in different languages, and could talk to his ABA therapist in Spanish. He now watches his movies and shows in French, thanks Netflix.
On another note, we are also a military family that moves and transitions a lot, with a father who deploys pretty often. Carter has his moments that he needs help with, and we are working through those constantly. He doesn’t like bugs, especially flying insects, and will run across eight lanes of throughway traffic to get away. He also has his meltdowns when something does not go as he planned, or off schedule. If he is watching a movie, and the disk is messed up and quits working, you better prepare for the storm that quick follows.
All in all, Autism doesn’t define Carter, it is just something that is part of him. Most people who meet him love him from the start, as his heart is as big as they get. He sees the good in everyone, and will hug all those that let him. If you are just now finding out about your child and autism, research on your own and ask questions to those that are experiencing it. Feel free to subscribe to this blog as well, as we will attempt to go through every aspect of our life and share in order to hopefully relieve the stress of others.