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 and my experiences as a person who loves someone with autism.

Monday, April 30, 2012

To whom it may concern, again...

Today is the last day of April. To most, that means May flowers are on their way. To the Autism Community, it’s the last day of any media coverage and recognition of April being National Autism Awareness month.

Aside from the Canucks Autism Network Family Festival in celebration of World Autism Awareness Day earlier this month and page 3 in the 24 Hours Vancouver paper on April 2, 2012 (Thank you, again, 24 Hours!!) I didn’t see or hear anything about autism at all in April. If me, someone who loves someone with autism didn’t see or hear much about autism this month, I can only imagine the lack of autism awareness, understanding, and acceptance that the rest of the world didn’t get out of this Autism Awareness month.

So, that being said, I figured I’d re-post one of my personal favourite blogs dedicated to the very thing I feel was lacking this month: AWARENESS. I’m re-sharing Bryce’s Story. His story is the best way for me to explain how important awareness is. It’s not so we get less snarky or ‘I feel sorry for you’ stares at the mall or even to emphasize how important early identification is for early intervention (that’s just a bonus). I’m re-posting this so you can become aware of autism which leads to becoming accepting and understanding. That’s what Autism Awareness is all about.

Enjoy the read.

Originally posted 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

Thursday, April 19, 2012

EVEN MORE Autism Quotes and Words to Live By

Be who you are, and become all you were meant to be.

Different, not less. – Temple Grandin

‘Normal’ is a dryer setting.

Through humor, you can soften some of the worst blows that life delivers. And once you find laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be, you can survive it. - Bill Cosby

Color Outside The Lines.

I have Autism. What’s your excuse?

Your staring might cure my Autism, then we can work on your social skills.

I ♥ someone with Autism.

Someone with autism has taught me to think outside the box

Thanks to our Facebook friends for contributing their autism quotes and words to live by. Have a favourite autism quote? Please leave it as a comment.

Thanks for reading,

Check out Autism Quotes and Words to Live By.
Check out MORE Autism Quotes and Words to Live By.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Transitioning to grade 6

So Bryce is in grade 5 right now and that’s the cap at the elementary school he has been going to since kindergarten. Daniel and I had to decide where he was going for grade 6. Middle school (grade 6, 7, and 8) or another elementary school that went to grade 7. We weighed the pro’s and con’s and all the factors: having autism, level of communication, where his friends were going, the amount of students the schools had, the curriculum, and the school policies and tolerances on bullying. Sadly, that is something I fear like all the time. I don’t want my little baby to ever come home feeling unwanted, unhappy, or unappreciated. EVER!

Daniel’s main concern was that if Bryce went to a middle school, Bryce would be bullied by the grade 8’ers. Middle school also wasn’t as much of a transition to high school as I assumed it was. He’d have 7 different classes, plus gym, and each class was in it’s own room. A lot of walking around, distractions even. I just couldn’t picture it. The only plus if Bryce went to middle school is he’d end up going to school with all his current friends. Huge plus! The majority of them have been going to school with him all 6 years. They are all very protective of him. Help him all the time! If his shoes had laces, his friends would probably tie his shoes all the time, that’s how close they all are to him. It’s ridiculously adorable. But like I said, that was the only plus.

We decided it would be in Bryce’s best interest to have him go to an elementary school. He’d still do elementary school things like little concerts and performances, would have all these little kids to play with (he loves playing with kids his age, but he loves playing with younger kids too!), and there would be one classroom with all the subjects being taught by one teacher. So today I went to the school to register Bryce, and was immediately greeted by a staff member who was wearing a Canucks jersey and Ugg boots. GO CANUCKS! She was super nice, informative, and got all the paperwork for me and then introduced herself. She was the principal! I thought that was really awesome and was already sold! She gave me a visitors pass and I toured the school, talked to students, met some staff, and she answered all my questions. Oh, and their were anti-bullying posters all over the school. Loved that!

We are very excited with our decision to keep Bryce in elementary school. I know he’ll miss his friends, and everything will be new, but I am confident he will be wanted, happy, and appreciated.

Monday, April 9, 2012

What you missed…

While we were still pretty active and updating our status’s on our Facebook and our Twitter, life got really busy out of no where and and we hadn’t written any blogs since Christmas 2011. Seeing as we’re back, I figured I’d share some of the highlights in our life over the last couple of months.

Here’s what you missed...

January 2012 – Happy New Year!!!!

On Saturday, January 7th, 2012 we sold bubble blowers at George Preston Arena in Langley, British Columbia, Canada at the Kids Swap n Shop event, a one stop shop for all your families needs. All proceeds benefited the Bubbles Make Him Smile Therapy Fund.

February 2012

Bryce’s latest fascination is wrestling and boxing and all things related. He got a World Wrestling ring toy set for Christmas and loves setting up the wrestlers and playing with them. At least once a week he builds his own personal size wrestling ring in our foyer with any materials he can find and plays wrestling with daddy in it.

February 29th, 2012 was the 5th annual Pink Shirt Day, also known as Anti-Bullying Day.

One in four Canadian children are bullied. That is one too many in our opinion! So we proudly wore pink to symbolize that we as a society will not tolerate bullying anywhere and to take a stand against bullying and show our support.

Bullying is a major problem in schools, workplaces, homes, and over the Internet. It doesn’t have to be. It shouldn’t be.

Bullying Stops Here.

Use your WITS!

W – Walk away
I – Ignore
T – Talk it out
S – Seek Help

The WITS Programs aim to reduce peer victimization and bullying in elementary school children. It is a simple way of teaching children the skills that they need to handle conflicts with others.

Did you rock pink? Show us! Like us on Facebook and post your pictures on our wall.

For more information about bullying please visit

March 2012

On Thursday, March 1st, 2012, Bryce’s grandma (Daniel’s mom) passed away peacefully at Vancouver General Hospital. She had a bunch of health conditions but that didn’t make her death easier on any of us. We had a celebration of life for her and she treated all of her family for one last dinner at her favourite restaurant, The Olive Garden. She will be greatly missed.

That about sums up the past couple of months of what’s new with us and what you may have missed. I’m sure I’m missing something but feel free to follow us on Facebook and Twitter and you’ll never miss a thing!

Thanks for reading,

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Our Little Bunny

Last night we decorated our Easter eggs and put them in the fridge only to wake up this morning to discover that they were all gone!

Thankfully, our little bunny was able to find them.

Happy Easter from all of us!

Thanks for reading,

Monday, April 2, 2012

World Autism Awareness Day – “Awareness is Key to Accepting Autism”

Today is World Autism Awareness Day! More awareness leads to more acceptance and understanding. This is the very reason we created our blog! To share our lives and experiences as people who love someone with autism to you!

I woke up this morning to text messages and Facebook wall posts from my friends letting me know they saw me and Bryce in the newspaper. I knew exactly why and immediately got dressed and headed to my nearest sky train station to pick up today’s 24 Hours Vancouver (a local paper) to discover our story was shared in today’s issue on page 3 (“Awareness is Key to Accepting Autism”.)

I knew they took pictures of us blowing bubbles yesterday at the Canucks Autism Network Family Festival in honour of World Autism Awareness Day and I spoke with a woman who was with the paper and did a little interview, but to actually see it on paper, and see how much of our story was published, even our website getting a shout-out, and how much attention it’s bringing autism today, it’s just completely overwhelming. I am literally at a loss for words. I am just so honoured that they used our picture and shared our story to help bring awareness to autism.

We’d like to thank Stephanie Ip of the 24 Hours Vancouver newspaper for sharing our story and Carmine Marinelli of the 24 Hours Vancouver newspaper for taking the beautiful picture! Check out the article here: “Awareness is Key to Accepting Autism”.

Thanks for reading,

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Canucks Autism Network Family Festival

We blew bubbles at the Canucks Autism Network Family Festival at Jack Poole Plaza in honour of World Autism Awareness Day here in Vancouver, British Columbia. Beautiful event, beautiful cause, beautiful energy and our bubbles made everyone smile!

Please check out the Canucks Autism Network website for more information on how you CAN help enrich the lives of individuals and families living with autism in British Columbia.

Canucks Autism Network Family Festival

Have pictures or videos of us blowing bubbles? Please feel free to post them on our Facebook page or email them to for us to share!

Thanks for reading,