My Life with Autism
Our thanks extend to all the participants of our contest.
Here are the submissions that received the highest
amount of votes from the ICare4Autism team.
Teddy Goldman - child with severe autism
When Teddy was 3, a developmental pediatrician told us “if I can tell you one word of advice, you gotta get him moving”. Like all parents, we wanted as much independence for our son as possible. We started having him ride a tricycle around the block. At first, he couldn’t get the pedals to turn so we initially had to move his legs for him to get him going. We then moved to a little bike with training wheels. We would go to the Atlantic City boardwalk at 7Am. He would always put his feet down and become scared when put on a two-wheeler. We eventually got a tandem 2 person bike and he was content to ride in back without having to worry about balancing. Teddy rode in the Belmar NJ Autism Triathlon and the 40 mile Boro Bike tour in Manhattan on the Back of the tandem bike. Still, he would plant his feet on the ground and not move whenever we placed him on a bicycle. Rather than force the issue, we moved to a Large adult sized Schwinn 3 wheel bike which looks like it’s from the 1920’s. Teddy was able to independently join the family on outings such as the pizza place and bagel store, learning to stop with squeeze brakes. We didn’t give up on a bike. He would sit on a bicycle but not move so his father and older brother (Benson) would each hold the seat on either side so he could glide forward and steer. He would struggle with pedaling because you have to get a certain speed to get going and he would always fall over. With all our arms worn out (he weighs 176 lbs!), something finally clicked. Mother’s day 2017 (10 years after the picture with training wheels) Teddy officially started riding a regular bike! He completed the Autism Wall Street Bike Rides Far event in October 2017 by himself. Riding the bike is used a reward in his ABA based school (Keswell) We are already seeing his confidence building, it’s like the wheels in his head are all connecting!
Joanna A. Sato
James and I at Surfers' Healing
Living With My Brother Who Has Autism
Having a brother with autism has given me a life filled with a mixture of happy yet challenging, funny yet embarrassing moments. My brother’s name is James. My family and I love him with all our hearts. For the past ten years of having James as a brother, I learned to understand autism more and thus be more understanding and kind to him and the people in my community.
There are always happy moments in our lives when we have James around. At one of my birthday parties, he went on the water slide for the first time. James yelled and laughed all the way as he glided down, making us all laugh and smile with him. I also remember when we participated in “Surfer’s Healing”, an annual event where surfers train kids in the spectrum to surf, James got to surf for the very first time! One time, too, we went on a catamaran ride and James loved it! He had the best day ever! He makes my family unique and special.
There were also embarrassing moments! Once when we were shopping, he would run and yell in the store and everyone would look at us. They would never understand. There was also one time he pushed me to the ground at an arcade. While I was hurt and upset, I totally forgave him after that because I know he doesn’t know if what he is doing is right or wrong.
At other time, it can be a big struggle to have James around. We always have to worry if he got his medication. If he does not, he will probably get into a major tantrum or get really over-stimulated. It’s not always easy to control or calm him down when he does. The medication also messes up James’s immune and digestive systems. I remember one day James got really constipated so he had to stay home from school. Furthermore, sometimes when we go out to eat James hardly eats any food at the restaurant. So my mom ends up having to cook or heat up some food when we get home.
Some people think James is inferior to a human being who is not in the spectrum. That’s not true at all. James has feelings just like all of us. I believe that everyone should know what it is like to have a brother with autism. James teaches me kindness and to be more understanding. I also learned everyone has their own battles to fight. We all love James for who he is.
Monica M. Griego
Hi, My name is Monica. I met my husband in 2007 and after meeting him he introduced me to his son. My husband didn't know if he was the father but since he raised him since his 3rd day of life,his journey began by asking his parents for help to adopt his son. Mark Jr is now 18,and he has grown so much. We had our daughter Holly in December of 2010,planned to get married before she came,but she decided she was attending the wedding along with us,and she was born,spent 1 month,10 days in the NICU,after we brought her home and she was 4 months old,We decided to get married. Esmeralda was born 2 months after my mom passing away. We have Mark Jr, Holly and Esmeralda all diagnosed with Autism. We love our children very much.
My name is Jenny Snyder. I am an autistic woman, 52 years old, with an interest in street photography. I use photography to understand emotions, and regularly show my work in local galleries in northern California.
My name is Viengsam Indavong, a mother of an 11 years old boy with ASD (Ton). Having a child with Autism has given me courage and motivation to set up and run Association for Autism in Laos, the country where there is no definition of autism.
This photo was taken at the playground in Adelaide in March 2017 when I did the fundraising event to help children with ASD in Laos while finishing my study at Flinders University. It was one of the most challenging journey but also the most rewarding one.