Hi, I'm Sam. I am 5 years old, but if you ask me that, I won't
tell you! I have autism, and that has caused me to have a lot of delay in speaking. But I have come a LONG way.
This is my story.
My mommy tells me I was a BIG baby--10lb 3ou. It took her a long time
to push me out, but I did just fine. And I was a really beautiful baby. I'm the oldest kid in our family, so I
have a lot of responsibility.
My mommy takes care of sick people. My daddy is really smart and he
stays at home to take care of Nathan and me. Really Nathan, cause I'm a big kid and can take care of myself mostly.
My mommy and daddy told me that I was a really easy baby. They always
said that I was spoiling them for all the other kids they planned on having! The only problem they really had with me,
was that I didn't want to eat baby food. The texture just grossed me out. So I was a breast-fed baby ONLY until
9mo by choice--MINE. Then I just started in on regular table food.
My mommy and daddy always thought I was just so motor oriented that I didn't
have time to talk. I walked at 10mo, and have great fine and gross motor control (that means I draw beautifully, and
can run and jump like most other kids). But my mommy can remember the pediatrician saying "Don't you talk to him?
You need to read to him more." They talked to me--I just couldn't understand it.
At about 18mo, I began biting other people, and my mommy noticed that spanking me (just a little!) only
excited me. It never stopped me. I also loved to touch the cat, but she didn't love me--she gave me deep scratches
and I would just laugh and put my hand behind my back. And then I would do it again.
Soon after that we moved to a new town. That was where my mommy realized that I was 2yo, and 1yo kids
were saying more than me. She asked for an evaluation, and the wonderful people from Early Intervention started coming
to our house. I also got started in Speech Therapy. Mommy and Daddy and I started learning sign language.
Speech Therapy was where mommy and daddy learned how good at drawing I was. In just a few days I started
going through reems of paper. I went through a whole roll of butcher paper in less than a month. Mommy started
bringing home scrap paper from work, but she just couldn't keep up--I just drew and drew.
When I was 2 and half years old, we went to see a behavioral pediatrician my mommy knows and has worked
with. My mommy was really pregnant at the time, I could hardly sit on her lap. We had to drive 3 hours to get
to his office, and by the time we got there, I had TOO MUCH ENERGY. I didn't want to hardly do anything with them, and
I was so hypered up that I bit mommy on the belly right in front of the doctor. She was so surprised that she pushed
me right onto the ground!
When the doctor told my mommy and daddy "autism", mommy started to cry really hard. That was really
upsetting. I wanted to help her so I started going through the 'Hs' on my sign video. I got every one to 'hop,
hug, and happy' over and over. We had a nice group hug which helped a lot.
Mommy and Daddy cried a lot over the next couple of weeks. Mommy went back to work, but she was just
too sad to work good. She kept crying at work. She was already tired from being so pregnant, so she took off work
a week earlier than she had planned.
Three weeks after I was diagnosed, my baby brother, Nathan,
was born. I know mommy and daddy were SO afraid, because autism runs in boys, and they knew this was a boy. Mommy
went to the hospital to have the baby and my Aunt Nann came and stayed here with me, and so did Grandma. Aunt Nann and
I had a LOT of fun. She got me to say new things, and we played a lot. I went to visit mommy at the hospital,
but it was so weird, and I didn't like having mommy in bed. I couldn't hug her or anything.
After mommy and daddy brought baby Nathan home, things changed a lot. I pretty much ignored Nathan
for about 9 months--that's how long he took to become really irritating. But while my mommy was off with the
baby and me, we went to Maryland where some really nice people let mommy and daddy watch discrete trials--that's the kind
of teaching I learn best from. Mommy and Daddy came home and started in on me!
First, from the time I had been diagnosed, they started shaping words with me. I really like ice cream,
so they would feed it to me one bite at a time. I would say "I" and get a bite while they said "iiicce creeeam".
Eventually, I would have to say more and more to get it. After we came back from Maryland, mommy and daddy drew
up a program for me from books they had gotten about ABA. That's Applied Behavioral Analysis, the same thing as discrete
When I turned 3, the people from EI couldn't come to my house anymore. Instead, I went to school with
the big kids! They already knew how to do DTT at school, they were really smart. Mommy designed my program at
home, and told them how to do it at school. Daddy helped a lot too: he helped the teachers understand how they should
do it, because he took me to school and picked me up every day.
Daddy and mommy also work a lot with me at home. To teach me the names of the rooms we played The
Running Game. They would whisper "go to.....the KITCHEN" and we'd run to the kitchen and shout "KITCHEN!" Then
"go to the....BATHROOM" and we'd run to the bathroom. After I got those down, we learned the furniture the same way.
Now I'm learning the location of things. Mommy will say "Where is the couch? In the....LIVING ROOM!" and we run
to the couch. It's a really fun game, we get to run and shout a lot!.
I also love to watch videos. I've learned a lot from videos. In the beginning I learned lots
of words from the Baby Bumblebee series and the First Impressions videos. Now I love to watch the Little Mammoth videos.
My favorites are The Big Space Shuttle, The Big Plane Trip, and The Big Zoo. I'm really good at saying "www.littlemammoth.com get them all they're really great!"
Two weeks after my fifth birthday, we went to a new hospital, and Dr. Myers
diagnosed Nathan as having an Autism Spectrum Disorder too! That's really something, we share something. Dr. Myers
is really neat, he's going to be my doctor too.
Now Nathan and I get to share our consultant. I usually don't like
sharing with him, but I think this might work out.