Friday, April 9, 2010

April is Autism Awareness Month

As many of you know, my precious nephew Ethan has autism, and it is my privilege to talk about him and to let you all know that April is Autism Awareness Month.

My sister might correct me on this, but I do believe Ethan was about 18 months old when the diagnosis of autism was first floated as a possibility. Immediately Sarah signed up for early intervention therapies, and Ethan has been in therapy (now at Riley Hospital for Children) ever since. My whole family can attest to the fact that early intervention is KEY. Ethan is doing as well as he's doing because of the hard work he's done in therapy. So "autism awareness" isn't just a nice thing to talk about it, it's vitally important! According to the Autism Speaks website, autism is now affecting 1 in 70 boys. Which is just CRAZY to me. What is causing this epidemic??? We need answers now. We need to find the cause and we need to find the cure.

Just last weekend while we were visiting in Indiana, I had the chance to play with Ethan for awhile at my parents' house. We got on the kitchen floor and put together an A-B-C floor puzzle. When he was done assembling it (lightning-fast in my opinion!), Ethan went down the row and said aloud the vocabulary words on each piece. He messed up "V is for violin" (he said "guitar," but hey, easy mistake!) and he couldn't pronounce (X is for) "xylophone," but really, what a dumb word. :) Other than that, his reading comprehension was perfect, and I couldn't stop hugging him when he was done. I'm so proud of him. I have extremely high hopes that he will conquer autism and its associated challenges and live a beautiful, healthy, and fulfilling life.

My Buddy, Auntie B loves you and can't imagine my life without your bright light in it. Keep growing and learning and getting stronger and stronger. I love you so much!

Ethan doing the Easter Egg Hunt. Yes, my sister makes her kids wear bunny ears while they hunt for eggs. I think it's hysterical.

And I can't resist sharing pictures of my other nephew and nieces, because without a doubt, they are just about the funniest kids I've ever known. Like my sister Katie and I have always said, watching them is "Better than TV!"
Only Ada knows for sure what's going on here. But she's taken to adopting a rock star pose when cameras are out. I could have died laughing when she did this.

Abby posing with her loot. Again, only one of my sister's kids would think to pose with her face in the Easter egg basket.

And last but not least, the irrepressible Elijah. Because he's the baby he has to show us how tough he is. Mission accomplished, little boy! :)


Kate said...

OH MY GOSH, I cannot believe how big these kids have gotten! I'm completely floored by Elijah - I saw him when he was like a month old, and holy $!*!&@, he's not a baby anymore! What dark-haired beauties, all 4 of them.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for always posting about Autism Awareness Month. Ethan really has come a long way, and if we can arrange it so that Sar teaches him, I know he could progress so much more. Great pix of the kids. They are all SO Sarah's children! -Katie

Kristen said...

I never EVER pass up the chance to donate to Autism Speaks when I shop at an "R Us" store - and you know I'm there a LOT these days! Sarah is an inspiration to me. Her love and devotion to Ethan is amazing and she somehow manages to have equally strong relationships with Ada, Abby and Elijah. (Many moms would overly-focus on Ethan's challenges and leave the rest to dad). Your family is a wonderful example of life with a truly special little guy. Hugs and prayers always to the whole fam!!!!

The Shabby Princess said...

Love the shout out about Autism. As you know, I'm running my marathons for/with Train 4 Autism and an offshoot of that, Operation Jack. It's something that I feel strongly about and agree that early intervention is key. I wear my Train 4 Autism shirt while running and I've had several people ask me about it--if that informs ONE more person about autism, then I consider that a huge victory.

Becky said...

I DO TOO! Thanks so much, SP, for always being such a strong advocate for Autism Awareness. I would also urge any readers to get out to TJ Maxx to make a donation, or to Toys-R-Us or Babies-R-Us (like Kristen mentioned) to make a donation this month! This money really does go to a FANTASTIC cause and could help my precious nephew!!!

Kate said...

p.s. You get a cute bag at Babies-R-Us for a gift of $10 or more to Autism Speaks...handy! It's Adele's new beach bag.

Kat said...

I happened upon your blog and just had to state that it's wonderful to see someone else that posts about Autism Awareness! My oldest child (4 next month) has high functioning autism and has been a challenge. We've changed his diet and added supplements and I'm thankful to say he's a changed child. God is SO good and your nephew is blessed to have such a loving Auntie!