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Forum topic by Heidi Neely posted 04-05-2010 06:22 PM 1880 views 0 times favorited 54 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Heidi Neely

550 posts in 3569 days

04-05-2010 06:22 PM

Topic tags/keywords: autism awareness

........................................AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH!

Fellow LJ’s…..take a break from making sawdust, and take a look at something serious, and very near and dear to my heart for just a moment.
As the mother of a son with Autism, I feel it’s partially my job to do what I can to bring peoples attention to this, and help raise awareness…..even if this post only gets 1 reader!

My son Connor is a happy, funny, smart, kind, loving, 7 year old little boy…..........who happens to have Autism.


Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a “spectrum disorder” that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. There is no known single cause for autism. The prevalence of autism had risen to 1 in every 110 births in the United States and almost 1 in 70 boys. Autism is treatable. Children do not “outgrow” autism, but studies show that early diagnosis and intervention lead to significantly improved outcomes.

Here are some signs to look for in the children in your life:

Lack of or delay in spoken language

Repetitive use of language and/or motor mannerisms (e.g., hand-flapping, twirling objects)

Little or no eye contact

Lack of interest in peer relationships

Lack of spontaneous or make-believe play

Persistent fixation on parts of objects

Photobucket Luckily with my son, we recognized the signs early, and took him to the doctor who then directed us to our local regional center. After days and hours of specialized testing that was both physically and mentally draining on him, that often concluded with him (as well as myself sometimes) in tears....he was finally given the official diagnosis of Autism. It's been a long road to get to the point that we're at now, but I can *VERY HAPPILY* report that Connor is doing fantastic! He;s come leaps and bounds from where he was just a couple of years ago. Infact, this school year he was taken out of the Special Education program, and is now a mainstream, happy, thriving 1st grader. : ) While he will probably always need to work just a little bit harder then his classmates to keep up, he knows that just because he has Autism doesn't mean that he can't do something. I'm so proud of him, and feel very lucky to be his mommy!

If you know and children in your life that display and of the traits listed above, please take action right away. The earlier the child is tested and diagnosed, the more you GREATLY improve the quality of their life by getting the tools needed to ensure their success.

If you've gotten this far, then I thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to read this!

~ Heidi


-- Heidi :) “The only source of knowledge is experience”

54 replies so far

View Michael Murphy's profile

Michael Murphy

453 posts in 3400 days

#1 posted 04-05-2010 07:32 PM

Never give up!

I have no experience with autism, but after helping my 18 year old daughter recover from a Traumatic Brain Injury from an auto accident, doctors did not know why she was in coma for 2 1/2 weeks, they thought she would be incapacitated forever. She come out of it and had to learn to walk and talk over again and learn ways to cope with memory problems. I learned there are lots of dedicated and caring people out there to help people overcome various problems and handicaps. You just need to find them and it seems you did.

Megan now is self-employed and runs three businesses of her own. Still has memory issues but does pretty well, considering how it could have turned out.

Connor is lucky to have you as a Mom. Besides, you can make him all kinds of cool toys.

Best of luck.

-- Michael Murphy, Woodland, CA.

View Gary's profile


9398 posts in 3827 days

#2 posted 04-05-2010 08:11 PM

Hey Heidi…great post. We all need to be reminded at times. Like Michael said, Conner is lucky to have you as his mommy.

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4641 days

#3 posted 04-05-2010 08:25 PM

There has been some mental illness in my family, no, not me. LOL. Though at time people may argue that point. But I would like to give a personal and grateful thank you to all the care givers out there. They are a special, wonderful breed of people. My future Mother in Law works at Michigan State University with autistic children and adults and seems to get more from the job then she puts into it, and she put’s a lot into it. God Bless you her and all involved helping the handicapped of this world. It is truly God’s Work.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Heidi Neely's profile

Heidi Neely

550 posts in 3569 days

#4 posted 04-05-2010 08:34 PM

Thanks (both of you) for the kind words! The difference in the child I have today, compared to the child that he was several years ago is REALLY astonishing…..and I know it was thanks to the excellent programs he was put into at 3 years of age after diagnosis, and a little extra love and patience from his parents and family.

I hate to say it, but I think PART of the success is because we live in California. If you think about it….with roughly 36 million people in this state, that means there’s somewhere around 327 THOUSAND people with autism here… there are fantastic FREE programs in place that are available if you go through your local Regional Center.

I’ve heard, on the other hand, sad stories that alot of folks in other smaller or less populated states have shelled out thousands out of pocket, and blown thru their entire life savings for similar programs thru private companies, or with specialists in their general area, In that respect, it’s definately been a blessing to be a Californian.

-- Heidi :) “The only source of knowledge is experience”

View patron's profile


13648 posts in 3736 days

#5 posted 04-05-2010 08:48 PM

i have made numerous trips to new hampshire with my ex -wife ,
to do remodeling on her sons home .
his son is autistic . i had never know someone with this .
brian is VERY intelligent , so in my usual way , i talked with him alot ,
as long as i was honest and truthful he responded to me ,
if he thought i was baiting him , he just turned and left .
the first trip , we were adding a bedroom to the house .
brian would sit in the swing and declare that we were destroying the house ,
and would swing himself into a frenzie . when we finaly finished the renovation ,
the last night his father brought him down were i was working to say goodnight and goodby ,
as we were leaving early to fly home , brian said thank you . and reached out a finger and touched me !
i new that we were friends for life then .
later we went back , this time to make over the upstairs rooms for the two brothers , each to have their own bedroom . we sat with them individualy , and listened to their needs in this .
colors , desks ,beds and shelf’s , and did the best we could for them .
when we left this time , brian came to say goodbye again ,
and i put out my hand to shake , he came right in and HUGGED me !
WOW ! and i learned everything there is to know about ’ sponge bob ’ too !
one of brians teachers told him he was real sharp ( some school paper thing ) ,
brian looked him in the eye , and said ,

” i am as sharp as a marble ” !
thats my bud !

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Heidi Neely's profile

Heidi Neely

550 posts in 3569 days

#6 posted 04-05-2010 08:56 PM

Jockmike2- Your future mother-in-law made a CHOICE to work with people with disabilities, which puts her on a whole different level….and is much deserving of being commended for her time and hard work to better those individuals lives.
I was drafted by no choice of my own. I did everything that I’ve done so far purely out of love for my child, because I believe that he deserves everything wonderful that this world has to offer. I’ve only done what ANY OTHER parent would do, so for that I don’t deserve and special praise. That’s just what being a parent is about.

I have to say…that I don’t look at him as being “handicapped” in any way, and I don’t want him to grow up thinking of it in that way either (of course I know you didn’t choose that word meaning any disrespect, so no worries). I simply tell him that it’s something that makes him special and unique, because everyone has something unique about them that makes them special and different then everyone else. After all, HOW BORRING would the world be if we were all alike?!! : )

-- Heidi :) “The only source of knowledge is experience”

View CharlieM1958's profile


16283 posts in 4613 days

#7 posted 04-05-2010 09:01 PM

You are lucky, Heidi. My cousin has two autistic children. One is much worse (the boy) than the other (a girl). Even though both were diagnosed at an early age and have received specialized care, neither will ever reach the level of achievement that your son has attained.

Best wishes on his continued development.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View GMman's profile


3902 posts in 4092 days

#8 posted 04-05-2010 09:03 PM

Girl…. I am so glad you posted that, mental illness is not like in the old days today they have cure, I have a person very close to me that has Bipolar or some calls it Manic Depressive and had to live with it for a long time and today is living a very normal life so normal that a few only know that that person has it, so there is always hope. Lucky for us here in Canada those treatments are all free of change.
A person never wants to loose hope.

View Heidi Neely's profile

Heidi Neely

550 posts in 3569 days

#9 posted 04-05-2010 09:05 PM

Great story patron! I think that because of the different way their brains proccess the world around them, they definately come up with stuff that you or I would never even think of… the “sharp as a marble” statement! My son has come out with some interesting, curious, hillarious, and sometimes downright genious ways of expressing something he’s seen, felt, or thought. I should have been keeping a journal all these years to write some of these little “pearls” down in.

Thanks for sharing your story with me/us : )

-- Heidi :) “The only source of knowledge is experience”

View sgtgraham1964's profile


2 posts in 3368 days

#10 posted 04-05-2010 09:07 PM

keep going there kid o.
there is nothing we can not handle in life if we just think “if i dont mine it dont matter”
i hope conner and you will make lots of saw dust together.:)

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3980 days

#11 posted 04-05-2010 09:14 PM

A wonderful little boy with a wonderful mother God Bless you both and I hope his days are happy ones . I had a brother now no longer with us who had brain damage from birth. He was handicapped .When I was in my thirties I received a letter written in very childlike hand, and discovered although now he was in his forties he was finally learning to read and write .I was amazed.He died early when he was 52.God Bless you my dear and much Love from we in Scotland Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Heidi Neely's profile

Heidi Neely

550 posts in 3569 days

#12 posted 04-05-2010 09:19 PM

Charlie- Besides my son Connor (who’s 7) having autism, my 8 year old daughter Katelyn has ADHD. They were born 15 months apart. It was a challenge to say the least. I was told that in life you’re only given as much as you can handle….so I held on to that statement as FACT and it helped me thru many many days and nights.
Much later after having my 2 kids I found out that their dad had ADHD himself after he went to a psychiatrist, and therefor passed that gene along to our daughter. It makes sense because he says that he always struggled in school, and got in trouble alot for “clowning around”. THEN my younger brother was diagnosed as an adult right after that as having Aspergers Syndrome, which actually IS a disorder on the Autism Spectrum as well. He was always thought of as “odd”, “different”, or “eccentric” growing up and into his adult life….always being just a little different then everyone else. After finding out it only makes sense that I had the gene because it often runs in families, but it was recessive in me so I didn’t get Autism I was just a carrier.

People have asked me in the past if I had known all of this in advance, would have still chosen to have kids? The answer is a resounding YES!! I can’t imagine my life without them, and I wouldn’t wish for anything different.

-- Heidi :) “The only source of knowledge is experience”

View GMman's profile


3902 posts in 4092 days

#13 posted 04-05-2010 09:25 PM

In that photo I can see the love you have for him you keep giving him all the love you can, love is a cure too in its own way.

View Rob200's profile


313 posts in 3564 days

#14 posted 04-05-2010 09:58 PM

thank you for letting me know more a bout this I think my grand so mite have this and thank to my son is get him some help he is 4 years old all I can say is thank you for your post Robert

-- Robert Laddusaw and no I am not smarter then a fifth grader ( and no I canot spell so if it is a problem don't read it ))

View pommy's profile


1697 posts in 4086 days

#15 posted 04-05-2010 10:57 PM

As a tennager i used to teach autistic kids social skills like being able to ues everyday objects we take for granted and it was proberly the most heart warming and forfilling thing i have ever done in my whole life

-- cut it saw it scrap it SKPE: ANDREW.CARTER69

showing 1 through 15 of 54 replies

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