Bryce

As a mother, I will never give up on my child. As a mother of a child who has autism, I will never give up hope.
I look into his eyes and I see all the potential that he has to offer to this beautiful world and I just know that one day the world can see what I see.

Follow my blog as I share my life with you and my experiences as a person who loves someone with autism.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Raise a little hell for autism

A little video I put together with footage from the rally for World Autism Awareness Day in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada with Canucks Autism Network.

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Everyone’s sick, but I’m fabulous!

Everyone’s sick, except me, but with my herniated disc I’m not feeling any more better than anyone else in this household right now. As a result, Bryce’s Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) sessions have been put on hold because you can’t go into the chamber when you are sick. We’ve had 3 full sessions so far, with 57 more to go. We will be documenting this whole experience and sharing pictures, videos, and reporting everything we can on our blog, Facebook, and Twitter. Oy, as I finished typing that, I kid you not, I just sneezed!

But I’m fabulous! I nominated myself (BubblesMakeHimSmile.com) for VancouverMom.ca’s search for Vancouver mom bloggers and made the cut! I am one of 30 nominees for the 2011’s 30 Fabulous Vancouver Mom Bloggers amoungst some seriously amazing women. It is a real honour and I am completely thrilled to be a part of it! Voting begins May 2nd, 2011 until May 6th, 2011 and the winner is fittingly announced on May 8th, 2011, Mother’s Day. I hope I have your vote! Good luck to all the nominees and I encourage you to check them out. We’re all Vancouver proud and mom proud so we’ve already won this.

Autism Speaks Canada - Be a Hero for Autism

Earlier this week Autism Speaks Canada blog posted an article we wrote called Be a Hero for Autism where we talk about raising a child with autism, and why we think raising awareness and acceptance for autism is challenging and important. To support Autism Awareness Month and the Toys“R”Us ‘Be a Hero for Autism’ campaign, Autism Speaks Canada is sharing stories from moms and dads across the country in April.

In other news, due to a lack of interest at the time, but the amount of friends and followers we have now, we have resurrected our connecting people across the world with bubbles video project. Photo submissions are already coming in and I have faith that it will get done! I don’t want to set deadlines, but it would be nice to see the video up late May, beginning of summer, so if you love bubbles, show us! Please email your picture to bubbles@bubblesmakehimsmile.com or post it on our Facebook page.

If you don’t have a bubble picture but want to be included in this video, please check out Autiepoet’s Inspirations and Creations on Facebook who has graciously offered to create some bubble tags so people are able to participate in the video. Thanks so much, Tina! Autiepoet’s Inspirations and Creations are working on their own little project right now for Mother’s Day: “I just called to say I love you” video, so check them out to see how to be part of that.

Speaking of videos, on top of our bubbles video, we have a little side project we have cleverly labeled as “secret video” and we are working on that but due to some software conflicts and the pain my butt, literally, from having to sit down at a computer to edit the video, it’s not getting done as fast as I would prefer, but expect to see that up sometime this week. Without giving too much away, it is a secret after all, Daniel wrote his own lyrics to a pretty well known song and a friend of ours busted out the vocals for it and we just think it’s just amazing.

The weeks not even over and there is so much going on!

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Be a Hero for Autism

Please read an article we wrote that was featured on Autism Speaks Canada.

Be a Hero for Autism

Autism Speaks Canada Be a Hero for Autism

Autism Speaks Canada

Autism Speaks... It’s time to listen.

WHAT WE DO: Research, Awareness, Advocacy, Family Services
WHAT WE OFFER: HOPE

Together with Autism Speaks, the founding organization in the United States, Autism Speaks Canada has grown into North America’s largest autism science, awareness and advocacy organization, dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families.

Monday, April 25, 2011

It’s Easter Time!

Today we woke up earlier than we did for Christmas and hid a half a dozen decorated eggs around the house so Bryce could have a little Easter egg hunt. I held Bryce’s hand as we walked downstairs and told him, “It’s Easter time!”

He was very excited and had been anticipating our Easter breakfast ever since we made the eggs yesterday. I asked him to get the eggs from the fridge and he opened the door, pulled out the carton, opened it and said, “Oh no, all gone!” I said it was OK and that we had to find them.

That is when the hunt began... and then ended. I guess we weren’t really good at hiding the eggs because he found four of them before I could even grab the camera to take a picture.

After Bryce found all the eggs, we sat down for breakfast and had our traditional egg cracking competition where you smash your egg against another persons egg to try and crack their egg. Bryce won again.

Hope everyone had an egg-cellent Easter!

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Colouring Eggs for Easter

Today Bryce and I decorated some eggs for our Easter breakfast tomorrow.

We hope everyone is having an egg-cellent Easter!

Daniel

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Taking the Dive

Today was Bryce’s first day of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. It was our first step on the road along which we will have 60 consecutive sessions, 5 days a week.

After a quick checkup of our vitals, we were ready to take the dive. We had his current favourite movie, Robot Repairman from the Backyardigans series, playing while we were in the chamber.

At first Bryce struggled with the oxygen mask. He seemed uncomfortable and unfamiliar, but after seeing me wear mine for a while he decided it might be ok to try, and after that he didn’t take it off until we were done. He also had to put on a pair of noise cancelling ear muffs to reduce the sound of the pressurization of the chamber. He has some sensitivity issues with his ears.

He was a little nervous about the whole experience at first, asking to go to the car. He was saying, “Done!” “Finished!” but eventually he turned into his negotiating self with the first this, then that routine: “First HBOT, then game,” or “First HBOT, then car.” We settled on, “First HBOT, then Slurpee.”

He seemed to be good with the pressurization of the tank, and once we were in the middle of it he was waving to the HBOT technician, and giving the ‘OK’ signal. He even gave the ‘Come up (or out)’ signal when the session was coming to an end. The session was long, slowly pressurizing, and decompressing the tank, and we felt we did pretty good.

Afterwards we went to 7-11 for a Slurpee, as we negotiated in the tank, and ultimately what Bryce refers to as “a Wii boxing fortress hotdog.” (I don’t know why he calls it that, but it’s a hot dog.)

It was a good first session. Bryce familiarized himself with the procedures, and my bet is by the fifth session, he will be a pro. We will be documenting this whole HBOT experience and sharing pictures, videos, and reporting everything we can on our blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

Daniel

To learn more about Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) to treat autism, please visit Vitalia Health Care.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

AutismHWY.com Chalk Festival

AutismHWY.com took over a California Burgers parking lot for their 1st Annual ‘Show You Care ~ Be Aware’ Chalk Festival in support of autism awareness. We’d like to thank Kelly Green, founder of AutismHWY.com, for allowing us to be a part of this event in her community.

AutismHWY.com's 1st Annual 'Show You Care ~ Be Aware' Chalk Festival supporters

Please visit AutismHWY.com’s blog for more pictures of the chalk art and details about the event.

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya

Saturday, April 16, 2011

HBOT rescheduled

Just a quick little update to let you know that our Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) session was cancelled due to the technician for the chamber not being available, and is rescheduled for Tuesday, April 19th, 2011.

We will be documenting this whole HBOT experience and sharing pictures, videos, and reporting everything we can on our blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya

To learn more about Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) to treat autism, please visit Vitalia Health Care.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

How to spread autism awareness

Just a friendly reminder:
It’s mid-April and still National Autism Awareness month.

Autism Awareness ribbon

That’s right! April is National Autism Awareness month. Something that almost anyone who loves someone with autism knows. We see a lot of people spreading autism awareness. It’s awesome, and we wanted to share our thoughts about autism awareness and how we personally promote autism awareness.

We were at an event a couple years back that was for autism awareness and the MC chanted over the microphone, “We’re here today to spread autism awareness!” and the crowd, who clearly were already aware of autism or else they wouldn’t of even known about the event, cheered and applauded as we marched onto a back road where no one could hear or see our message. It was really disappointing and changed my perspective on how to spread and promote autism awareness.

Chances are that if read our blog, follow us on Twitter, are a fan of us on Facebook, or are subscribed to us on YouTube, you are aware of autism, or at least starting to become aware. So how do we spread and promote autism awareness when the majority of people who are reading this are probably already aware?

First, I’ll tell you what we don’t do. We don’t hold an autism awareness event where everyone there is clearly aware or else they wouldn’t be there, and then take that event and walk into the woods and promote autism awareness to the squirrels. Instead, spread that autism awareness event to an audience that doesn’t know about autism. Makes sense right? Bring it to the peoples attention. Get noticed! Even if it makes someone say, “What the hell was that all about?...” Well, that’s a start.

That’s how you truly spread awareness.

My point is, you can’t spread autism awareness within the autism community. I mean, we can talk about autism within the autism community, and we can learn a lot from each other even. In fact, we strongly encourage people to talk to each other about autism! But to actually spread autism awareness, to spread the message itself, you need to reach outside of the autism community.

So here are the ways we spread autism awareness. We tell our story with the hopes and expectations that someone will listen, someone will be aware. Plain and simple.

  • We write a blog where we share our lives with you and our experiences as people who love someone with autism: http://www.BubblesMakeHimSmile.com
  • We write articles and make videos sharing our story and send them to anyone that has a way to publish it. Whether it’s a small or huge outlet, online, on cable, or on paper, local or international. We’re talking newspapers, magazines, radio shows, talk shows, and everything in between! If they have a ‘contact us’ option available, we contact them! See one of our articles on Tonic.com: Taking a Stand Against Autism
  • We get involved on the social networks. We send out tweets on Twitter and post messages on Facebook to names with big audiences and big hearts, and ask them to re-tweet or re-post what we wrote in hopes that their followers or fans see it, and maybe re-tweet it or re-post it, spreading the message.
BubblesMakeHimSmile.com's tweet to Ellen Degeneres

At the end of the day, the autism community is the best place to connect and interact with people who understand everything autism, but they are not the people that you need to spread autism awareness to.

Please help spread autism awareness outside of the autism community.

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

AutismHwy.com: 1st Annual Show You Care Be Aware Chalk Festival

BubblesMakeHimSmile.com is a proud supporter of AutismHwy.com’s 1st Annual ‘Show You Care ~ Be Aware’ Chalk Festival in support of autism awareness. We encourage you to check it out if you live in that area.

AutismHWY.com 1st Annual Show You Care ~ Be Aware Chalk Festival

AutismHwy.com says, “We will be celebrating our talents and practicing our skills with chalk! Raising Awareness and thoughts for a more accepting world. ART brings hearts and minds together and this is what we aim to do!”

Their will be tons of things to do and fun for everyone!

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

AutismHWY.com

AutismHWY.com: This informative friendship network is a place online where people on the autism spectrum and their family and friends can connect to similar individuals and their support systems. Communication and connection are really important aspects to anyone who feels like they are the only one. AutismHWY.com was inspired by love and promotes friendship through common understanding. Join free and be part of an ever growing online community of friendship and connection! AutismHWY.com, provides a safe place where you are accepted, where you are not alone.

When we see something promising, or someone promoting autism in a positive way, we just really want to be a part of it and try to help in anyway because we feel that we are all on this journey together. We asked Kelly Green, the creator of this network and online community, if she could give us a more in depth look into AutismHWY.com.

AutismHWY.com

Here’s the interview:

Tell us about AutismHWY.com.

AutismHWY.com is a place of celebration to enjoy our differences and learn through our similarities. I have found in my years navigating the spectrum... [Autism Spectrum Disorder] that all of the best info comes from other families. The people living Autism 24/7. These are the people that are the future. We need platforms and venues for understanding and ‘JUST BEING’!

My hopes for AutismHWY.com is simple. The many layers of family and support that surround one individual with autism can be immense. I wanted an environment that was playful and uplifting for us all to make the connections we seek. NT[Neurotypical]+ASD[Autism Spectrum Disorder] equals a better BRAIN! I want kids and adults working on their typing and friendship skills through the keyboard! I want to see AS [aspergers] siblings meeting other siblings, etc... Grandparents, parents, uncles, aunts, cousins... friends, professionals etc...We are very passionate about our issues and want to team up with others. Once we are all working together with Autistic adults we will put systems in place to assure ourselves that our kids will be understood when we are no longer here to translate for them... PLUS we just want to have fun somewhere COOL~~All for US!!

Who should join the AutismHWY.com community?

... Autistic PEOPLE & Every ONE should join AutismHWY.com! All of the extended family members etc... just mentioned in my previous answer. Friends, professionals, etc~~Sooner or later everyone will have an autist [person with autism] in their family! The more people learn about each other the more comfortable we all will be!

Join AutismHWY.com

What inspired/motivated you to create this website?

I had an amazing epiphany 2 years ago almost to this day. My brother was gravely ill and during a prayer for his life... I was struck with a message. A message to write kids books describing Autism to children. I immediately was able to write 3 books. I titled them “Why does Wyatt Do That?”... “Making friends with Autism”, a very amazing experience for a non church-going, believer. The more I rolled the phrase, “Making Friends with Autism”, around in my head... I wondered where was a fun light-hearted playful website for families on the spectrum?? Funny thing, I had never even been on line so I didn’t know of any sites... just that no one had ever appealed to me... all the sites I did see were overwhelming and made me feel icky... TMI [too much information] sometimes... ya know? Post script, my brother died on April 15th, 2009... but I was able to tell him about my books... and he gave me a knowing look... so I feel my brother is so deeply a phoenix rising in these projects. It was so spontaneous...

Is their anything else you’d like to add?

I’d like to add that AutismHWY.com is brand new and please be patient while we are working on getting all the glitches worked out and resources filled in. Encourage all of your networks to log in relax and hang your hat! We are looking forward to everyone helping drive the Autistic Communities future into POSITIVE LANES!!

Together we can help the world relate to us and create comfort for both “Brain-styles”.

Thank you BubblesMakeHimSmile.com, we love your sponsorship and support of our endeavors!! We very much look forward to all of your informative future blogs.

We are inspired by AutismHWY.com on so many levels and how they are creating bridges for the autism community, family, friends, and professional services. We admire Kelly’s dedication and spirit and branding AutismHWY.com as a place where one can just be themselves.

I’d like to thank Kelly for taking the time to answer our questions, and we wish her nothing but success! For more information about AutismHWY.com please visit their website and join the community today!

Kelly also promotes autism awareness in art throughout her community painting on local vendors windows and creating autism awareness logos. She also hits the radio waves every Friday in a segment called AUTISMHWY-Fridays with Kelly Green on Blog Talk Radio’s Autistic People, People First Online Radio Show by Autistic People. So tune into that on Fridays at 12:00pm PST! You can also follow along Kelly’s journey as she shares her stories in her blog.

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya

Friday, April 8, 2011

“I have learned.”

We asked our Facebook friends: Autism can change a persons perspective on life. We want to know what you have learned about yourself (if anything) from raising a child with autism?

Here’s what they had to say.

“Wow, not sure I can put just one thing. Jacob has taught me so much! His perspective on things is amazing, he sees things I would not look twice at. His love is unconditional and he cant lie. I ♥ my boy!”

“In the very simplest: I’ve learned the real meaning of the term love.” Christina from CRUISE 4 AUTISM

“I have learned to appreciate the little moments in life so much more than I did before.”

“When we live with someone that has the social component shut down, I believe it re-defines our own social life. I see such nonsensical behavior that goes on out there. Perhaps, I used to involve myself in hat to a degree. Ha! No longer... I now see that a lot of what goes on as “social life” is just inane B***sh**!!!”

“I have learned patience... that is the main thing I have learned. My son went from non verbal to talking away very quickly due to a wonderful teacher we placed him with. A lot of people in my family do not understand my son, no matter how much I try to educate him. He has also taught me how to be patient with my family and the people in everyday life that just don’t understand as well. I love my son! And I wouldn’t change him for anything.”

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya

Special thanks to our Facebook friends for sharing their stories. Have a story you’d like to share? Please leave it as a comment.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

If there was a cure for autism

There was a question floating around Facebook the other day asking: “In honor of Autism Awareness Month,: If there were some magic pill that came out tomorrow that would completely cure your child of autism, would you give it to them?”

You could select from one of the previously created answers, or add one yourself:

  • No, I love my child just the way they are!
  • Yes but only because the world is cruel to my child with autism.
  • Undecided
  • Yes, but I would not want to lose his great personality.
  • Yes, I hate the fact that they have autism.
  • Heck no! I wouldn't change who my child was destined to be!
  • No because my child’s autism makes him who he is!
  • Yes so he would have a better life
  • No we need to change how others think and act towards them
  • Yes, my child deserves to be just as normal as everyone else.
  • Yes, because that's what she wants. It disadvantages her life.
  • BUT I LOVE MY GRANDSON JUST AS HE THE WAY HE IS.

If there was some magic pill that came out tomorrow that would completely cure your child of autism would you give it to them?

Here was my response to the question:

I think these answers are a little harsh. Autism doesn’t defy who a person is. You can still love your child just the way they are if they didn’t have autism. You can still be a better person just because your child doesn’t have autism. The world is still cruel regardless. And frankly, ‘normal’ is a dryer setting, and should never be used as a description or characteristic. If there was a cure for autism, I’d be the first in line, and anyone that wouldn’t join me in that line, is in denial.

Ok maybe not in denial, but you get my point. But I do agree that we do need to change how others think and act towards people in general. Which brings me to this.

Today I read a beautifully written blog by Stuart Duncan entitled: How did ‘cure’ and ‘acceptance’ get to be such bad words?. If you have ever doubted, questioned, or argued against the use of those two words, I strongly urge you to read it. In fact you should just read it regardless.

Here is an excerpt from his thoughts on a new way to think about old words:

“Perhaps a cure doesn’t have to mean “removing all” and instead can mean “removing the barriers”... implying that they’ll still have autism but maybe now they can talk, leave home, hold down a job and start a family of their own.

Perhaps acceptance doesn’t have to mean that the world just says “well, they’ll never talk.. accept it” and instead means that the world accepts that there needs to be a change in priorities, a change in how funding is not available, a change in how parents feel so alone with no where to go.

The world isn’t black and white. And the world isn’t just about you. We can co-exist... and understand that people want what they want and that they have their reasons for wanting it.

Don’t be so quick to judge, don’t be so quick to get defensive. A cure is not a cure for all and acceptance isn’t acceptance for all. Either support each other in their goals and desires or don’t. There’s no reason to hate.”

Which then begs the question, as parents, are we not all on the same boat to the same destination? Don’t we all want what we believe to be the best for our children?

Thanks for reading,
Tanaya

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Autism Understanding and Acceptance - Open Letter to the World

Being aware of what something is, is really important, but understanding and accepting that something is just as important. Whatever that ‘something’ happens to be.

April is National Autism Awareness month and April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day. It is a time when we (The Autism Community) generally emphasize to you our views on autism, share our stories how autism has affected us, how we have become better people because of autism, and how we want you to be understanding, and accepting of autism.

But none of this will mean anything to you unless you are willing to care. To most, this month will go by like every other month. They will never Google the word ‘autism’ or it will be in one ear, and out the other. And that is your choice.

It is a cold-hearted fact that most people, not all people, but most, doesn’t care about things that do not affect them. We are all guilty of not caring about something that doesn’t affect us at one time or another. However, this is where that fact becomes flawed.

It will affect you. By the time you have read up until this part of our message, give or take a minute, one person has been diagnosed with autism. One more person added to the millions of people across the world that has been diagnosed with autism. And that’s only the ones that have been officially diagnosed. A lot are still waiting diagnoses, or have been misdiagnosed. But that’s a whole other story. With the numbers rising each and every single day, chances are you will know at least one person with autism in your lifetime. And we promise you, it will change who you are, the type of person you will become, for either the good, or the bad. Again, your choice.

While we can’t make you listen, we will still have something to say.

We invite you to follow our blogs as we share our lives and experiences as people who love someone with autism.

Autism Understanding and Acceptance

Awareness is not enough.

We (The Autism Community) need for you to know what Autism is.

We can only achieve that through Autism Understanding and Acceptance.

Awareness of autism has risen dramatically in the past few years, and awareness is certainly a good place to start. Increased awareness has helped parents get earlier diagnoses for their children, and it has helped secure funding for research. However, it hasn’t done much to change public perception of what autism really is.

This is a call out to the world to understand the people and the disorder.
This is a call out to the world to accept the people and the disorder.

You can not understand or accept the people until you understand and accept the Autism they have.

Autism is a part of who they are.

The media has focused almost entirely on children with autism – but children grow up. In a society where one in 110 children is diagnosed with autism (the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control), no one can afford to ignore the significance of this disability. People with autism are children, teenagers, adults, men, women, scientists, programmers, engineers, unemployed, in care homes … too many of them continue to be bullied, to be judged, or to just be ignored.

Each person is unique. Each person has their own unique set of strengths and weaknesses just like you or I.

The charities, the organizations, the groups, the parents, the people with Autism themselves... we ask you... no, we need you to know what Autism really is.

Today, and everyday, we ask for your Autism Understanding and Acceptance.

Friday, April 1, 2011

To whom it may concern,

It was a couple years of doubt, some denial, questioning ourselves as parents, doctor referrals, and waitlists before our son, Bryce, was diagnosed with autism. But the progress he has made since day one to today is, without a doubt, all thanks to the support team that we had then and continue to have now. But it still lingers in the back of my mind that if I knew what autism was then, if I knew what the signs were, what to look for, just if someone had told me about it, if I was more aware, read it in a blog, heard it on TV, just something, anything! and then all the waiting... well, maybe I wouldn’t of felt so helpless.

April is National Autism Awareness Month and in honour of that, we’d like to start the month off by re-posting Bryce’s Story. We encourage you to share this with your friends and family. We hope that it helps someone.

Bryce was born July 2nd, 2001 at 7:06am. He weighed 7 pounds, 7 ounces and was 19.5 inches long. He was a very happy baby, always smiling and cooing and slept through the nights. People would always comment how happy and relaxed he was compared to other babies.

This is Bryce’s story.

When Bryce was 12 months old, it was brought to our attention from a pediatric physiotherapist that regularly visited the daycare Bryce attended, that Bryce had a tendency of looking at things through his peripheral vision instead of making direct eye-contact. It was her recommendation to speak to our pediatrician as she said it wasn’t ‘typical’. Bryce had all his vaccinations, recommended by his pediatrician, and he met his baby milestones like crawling and baby talking. Anything we thought he may be behind on learning was disregarded by people telling us that all children are different and learn at different times. We didn’t know any better as young, first time parents.

After meeting with our pediatrician, he had expressed some concerns about mild developmental delay primarily involving gross motor and personal/social skills. He felt this was probably associated with mild hypotonia (low muscle tone), and placed Bryce at the eight to nine month-old level. As a follow up to some of these concerns, our pediatrician wanted Bryce to be screened for metabolic disorders, chromosomal abnormalities, hypothyroidism, and seizures. All the tests came back normal.

Bryce had little development in communication and social behaviour but improved in gross motor skills yet hadn’t started walking. Bryce was 18 months old and it wasn’t until I was fed up with carrying him and pushing strollers everywhere that I physically put him against a door and made him walk to me repeatedly until he figured out that he had legs, and that’s what they were used for. It was at this time that we discovered that Bryce had to be pushed and taught skills that 'typical' developing children pick up naturally by observing parents and peers. From that day on Bryce would walk everywhere.

In February 2003, a subsequent referral to another pediatrician indicated that Bryce had a “global developmental delay and some abnormal mannerisms” that needed further investigation. She was concerned about Bryce’s language development, social development and thought he had possible features of autism. She ordered similar lab work to the previous pediatrician, put in a referral to have Bryce’s hearing checked, and began the process for having him enrolled in the Infant Development Program. The lab work produced unremarkable results and his hearing was deemed normal.

She made a referral in June 2003, when Bryce was almost 2 years old, for a full developmental assessment at Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children because of the pediatric physiotherapist that expressed concerns about autistic features she observed in Bryce at daycare. The pediatric physiotherapist reported: frequent sideways cocking of the head while looking at lights; lack of eye contact; no words; inability to follow commands; delayed gross motor milestones; fascination with wheels, tags, and fans; and self-feeding with fingers only (no utensils).

Bryce was almost 3 years old when we finally got to see Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children for diagnostic testing. These tests included simple tasks like putting a Cheerio into a small glass container, to test his fine motor skills, and then seeing if he could get the Cheerio out, using problem solving, by turning the container over. They also used blocks to test his ability to sort by color and shape, ability to stack vertically opposed to lining them up horizontally, and ability to recognize patterns and copy them. The majority of the diagnostic tests were play based due to his young age and lack of verbal or signing communication skills. A month later, we sat down in a little room with a doctor, and were informed of Bryce’s results.

On June 9th, 2004, Bryce was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder by the Pacific Autism Resource Centre at Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children. The summary said that he displayed several features consistent with autism spectrum disorder including, delayed language, limited eye contact, self-stimulating behaviour, repetitive play, and delayed pretend play skills. His receptive and expressive language skills were also severely delayed and based on his age, his symbolic abilities, such as pretend play, were also delayed.

I remember crying and feeling so sad and not fully understanding what it is that they were telling us. We didn’t know anything about autism. I remember thinking to myself about the future and what was going to happen. We were told not to look too far ahead and to take each day by day.

We invite you to follow our blogs as we share our lives with you and our experiences as people who love someone with autism.

Thanks for reading,
Bryce, Tanaya, and Daniel

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