Images Captured by Joel Smith Photography
Meet Tiny Light Brady. This sweet boy has overcome so many obstacles already and brings immense joy to everyone who knows him. He’s a busy little guy who attends school and completes approximately 24 hours of Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) therapy every week. In his down time, he enjoys swinging, looking at books, listening to music and playing on his iPad.
When Brady was 3–4 months old, his parents noticed that he didn't have very good head control and had difficulty pushing up on his tummy, but at this point they weren't overly concerned. Shortly after, he started having some gastro-intestinal problems and was developing hives. Brady’s parents also noticed some “quirky” behaviours, including Brady’s seeking pressure on his feet and pocketing food in his mouth for long periods of time. He also liked to balance toys on his feet above his head while lying on the floor. By 15 months, Brady had learned to crawl, but was not communicating verbally, did not play with toys in a functional manner and entertained himself with the same toy or book for extended periods of time.
Brady began occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech and language therapy at approximately 18 months of age, but wasn't diagnosed with autism until he was two years and three months old. He’s now six years old and has made many gains. Brady is toilet trained and now sleeps in a bed instead of a crib. He has yet to find his voice, but his family and therapists are working hard to find the most effective alternative communication for him. He’s a flight risk and wears a tracking bracelet on his ankle and will soon be receiving an autism assistance guide dog, which will help keep him safe and also provide him with companionship.
Despite the challenges his family faces on a daily basis, Brady's mother, Amy, remains positive. She says, “It hasn’t always been easy and at times it’s been completely overwhelming, but, at the end of the day, we’ve been blessed with the most beautiful, sweet and happy little guy. I look at him and I see such potential and I know that regardless of what obstacles he has to overcome in his life he’ll always have the most loving and supportive family to help him along the way. Dealing with everything that comes with a diagnosis of autism has made us closer as a family and forced us to slow down and to appreciate the smallest of accomplishments. For that I’m grateful.”
Story by Emily Harrison