Monday, April 2, 2012

Walking for Brody

This is my Godson, Brody. He is the son of B's great friends who I've become very close with as well. They have two boys, this is their youngest. He's about to turn 3 years old. I was there the day he was born and have spent a great deal of time with him since then. In December of 2009, B and I babysat the two boys while mom and dad went to dad's compan y Christmas party. We had a blast with the boys. Playing, jumping around, talking and watching movies. Brody was
about 8 months old then and was just starting to blabber and "talk" to us. Both the boys were so well behaved that night.
December, 2009. The last night we saw the Brody we always knew.

After the holidays, we didn't see the boys for about 8 weeks. In February, I got a phone call from my good friend, Brody's mom. She sounded upset and told me that she thought Brody had Autism. She had been nervous about Autism with her first boy too, maybe a little paranoid, even. So I laughed at her and told her she was crazy. We had just babysat Brody and he was meeting all the milestones for his age. I told her, signs are: lack of eye contact, lack of social interaction and delayed verbal skills. Brody had none of those issues. She replied, "Amy, you haven't seen him for a couple months, he's different. I'm really worried." I still did not take her too seriously. I reassured her and we moved on to a different subject.

The next weekend we came over to their house for a get together. I had told B about our phone call and he had the same response I'd had, "There's no way!" As we walked into their house, their oldest son, K ran up to us as he always does and hugged us tight and talked away about his new toys and what he'd been up to. "Where's Brody?" I asked him. It was unusual that Brody was not hanging on K's coat tails. K pointed to the living room. Brody was sitting up, staring at the moving ceiling fan. We called his name and there was no response. I knelt down beside him and he did not look at me. He was fixated on the ceiling fan. I looked at B and my heart sank.

Where is our boy? He was gone. It was exactly as I'd read before. Here one minute, and gone the next. It was like he was empty. I picked him up and he grunted, wanting to stay put under the fan. No blabbering. No smiling. No embrace. Just a body. I was devastated and had no idea what to tell his mom. She saw my face and reminded me that she had told me.
This is Brody about one year after we babysat him. Right before his official diagnosis.

The months that followed were hard on us all. Diagnosis, tests, meetings, therapy. Finally, Brody was diagnosed as Autistic. Event though we all knew it was coming, the official diagnosis still stung. Luckily, Brody has a very strong mom who bounced right into action. Reading books, planning therapy and school and adjusting Brody's diet. We slowly saw Brody's light return. He'd lost a lot of his verbal skills, but the past year and a half have done wonders for his ability to communicate and participate in "normal" behavior for an almost 3 year old. I know not all kids get "better" and Brody is still behind, but we've seen him really start to return to us. We feel so lucky that he's responded to the diet changes and the therapy.
This is Brody and his brother from this last Christmas. We see our boy in those eyes again!

On April 14th we are walking in Sonoma for Autism Speaks. I am not sure the Dr. will let me walk, but we will be there for support and hopefully raising money for this worthy cause. There are so many versions of Autism, and research is so key in diagnosing, help and treatment.

Please consider donating to our walk, in Brody's name. No donation is too small.

Follow this Link to my personal fundraising page! All donations are tax deductible!

Brody at 6 months

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