My name is Leigh Merryday, and I am a teacher, school media specialist, nonprofit president, special needs advocate, wife, and mother of two young children. My daughter, Bronwyn, is eight and has ADHD. My son, Callum, is six and is moderately autistic. He is currently in an ESE ESE K-2 classroom (first grade) and receives speech, occupational, behavioral, and physical therapy. He is limited-verbal.
This is not my family’s first journey into the world of autism and “otherness”. We have other relatives on the spectrum as well as those with ADHD, giftedness, mental illness, etc.. Suffice it to say, between being a teacher and having family experience with the spectrum, the Jaws theme played loud and clear in my head at the first little glimpses of flapping and stimming in my son.
Callum is just beginning to use some words and two-word phrases, along with Proloquo2Go on his iPad. And he is quite a friendly and affectionate little guy. We’re are doing what we are supposed to do (therapies, consultations, research) and have dabbled in others (listening programs, sensory diets, and few alternative things I now regret) while helping him learn to access his world. He is severely speech delayed, but – at only six and showing positive signs of using assistive technology and some speech, we are hopeful he will acquire functional language and more.
We are very fortunate that Callum’s autism and sensory integration issues are not depriving him of happiness. He is a cherished and happy little soul who brings smiles to everyone he knows. However, Callum’s journey has just begun. We’ve seen enough to know that a lot of tough stuff is yet to come. This blog is my attempt to tell my family’s story of autism, to connect to others on similar journeys, and a place for me to process it all.
Thank you for your interest and for allowing me an opportunity to share our story with you. I hope you will stop back by again.
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