Meet Alex

Images Captured by Leanne Liakos Photography

Meet Tiny Light Alex.  Alex
loves driving around with his Dad listening to “cool” music.  He also loves
to sing.  Several music teachers have told Alex's parents that he has
perfect pitch!

Alex was diagnosed with severe Autism at two-and-a-half years old.
His Mom had suspected that something was not quite right from the time Alex was
16 months old.  Alex had a few words that he spoke on occasion; he then
stopped responding to his name.  When his Mom noticed that he was no longer
reacting to his family members, she began researching.  Despite the fact
that her research kept coming to the word Autism, Alex's diagnosis
still came as
a shock.  They were devastated.  Because of the wait to see a
developmental pediatrician, they had lost a whole year.  "A whole year of
lost time when all of the 'experts' tell you how imperative early invention is.
Gone."  Alex's father was in shock and denial, hoping it was a misdiagnosis
and that they would find it to be something less debilitating.  This was a
period of transition for Alex's Mom.  She was armed with a year’s worth of
research, she was grieving, but now they had an official diagnosis,
meaning that
Alex could now get funding and could start therapy.

Alex can now do many of the things that they were once told he would
possibly never do.  He has loving relationships, he laughs at funny things,
feels remorse and last year even said 'I love you Mommy', unprompted.  He
had learned how to use a computer, and is great at using an IPhone and other
touch screens.

Things are still difficult for this family.  Alex is prone to
meltdowns, and often needs to be carried away when this happens.  He can be
very impulsive, making restaurants tricky; Alex will often get up and start
eating food off of other tables.  His parents live in fear that he will
leave the house and get lost.  In a way this journey has been hardest on
Alex's Dad who dreamed of teaching his son life experiences and playing sports
together.  "Even though there are special little moments and milestones
here and there, everyday you live with and look at your beautiful child, whom
you had all of these wonderful plans for, and everyday you are reminded of what
could have been and may never be for him."

There are many therapies out there.  Alex's parents want to stress the
following to parents who have kids with Autism: you have to remember that what
the experts say to do isn't always the right thing for your child.  You are
your child's best advocate.  Alex's parents hope that Alex will be able to
fully communicate one day and that he will be able to work to decrease his
frustration.  "We hope that he will have meaningful friendships and that he
will have lots of people in his life who are true friends.  I hope he is
able to love and be loved.  I just want him to be happy."

Story by Angela Stephen-Dewhurst