I am so excited to share their story with you. I really hope this touches you or helps someone you know. These are Brittany’s words, I did not change anything.
Meet Brittany and Landon
   My beautiful son was born on December 10th, 2014.  Every day with him has, and is pure joy. Around the age of 9-10 months old, I noticed him not excelling in things that I thought he should “just get” by now.  He wasn’t babbling or speaking, he was a happy baby, but didn’t show a lot of expressions on his face, he showed no interest in walking, he preferred to be alone, and crowded areas or parties seemed to bother him.  Eventually, things that bothered him turned into full-blown meltdowns. Meltdowns that made me cringe because I didn’t know what or how to help my son. Even going into a semi-crowded restaurant became a thing of the past. Something we could no longer do as a family.
I made mention of these concerns that were starting to pile on to our pediatrician and was told that he could just be a late bloomer, and not to worry.  As a mother, I did worry. Every single day I worried, as I watched my son not meet milestones according to some baby app I had downloaded during pregnancy.  He wasn’t speaking, and it seemed as if he looked through me, never at me, when I would speak to him. By his 2-year-old check up I requested a referral to a specialist.  At first, my pediatrician recommended I wait until he was 3. A whole year??? No thank you. I demanded my referral, (because you as a parent can!), and then began the lengthy process of calling to get put on a 5-month waitlist for the Myers Clinic of Houston.
I will never forget the day of our observation.  It was August 16th, 2017 a whole two weeks before hurricane Harvey hit Houston. Up to this point I had filled out mounds of paperwork regarding the type of pregnancy I had, the type of birth I had, the type of birth my mother had, disease, illness, on my side of the family, my husbands’ side of the family, it was endless. As the doctor came in she already had our stack of paperwork and had gone through everything, and again, we went through everything just one more time. She then started asking my son to complete small tasks.  He obliged to some degree, where other things that were being asked were dismissed with a grunt, or hand swipe- there were a few meltdowns which I didn’t correct because I wanted her to see what I had to see on a daily basis. No eye contact, non-verbal, not completing tasks, extremely low vocabulary (if any), I watched her check every box on some form she kept for her records. Finally, after 4 hours, she gave us our verdict, and on August 16th, 2017, my son was diagnosed with Autism. I literally remember sinking into my chair, still inside the observation room, and then, the tears came. They didn’t stop until exactly 3 days later. I cannot tell you what happened after our diagnosis, my husband had to step in and gather all the forms and paperwork, a social worker came in to help console me, and all I remember her saying is this is not your fault. Flash forward 3 days later, I started going through the paperwork, diagnosis letter, pamphlets, etc to help gather my thoughts.  Still upset, I started reaching out to the social worker that was so kind to me before, and immediately threw myself into all things Autism. I ordered books on Amazon, I attended meetings for parents with recently diagnosed children, everything I could think of to start helping my child. I started a journal, which I still write into this day, the first several pages are filled with cursing, and lost thoughts, but it helped. It helped me cope.
I enrolled my son into several programs. Many that are FREE to all families.  You just have to make a lot of phone calls to get through to the right people. The first being a home program called ECI or Early Childhood Intervention.  Three different ladies came to our house and did occupational therapy, speech and language therapy.  These stop once your child turns 3, but you are then guided to your designated districts PPCD program where another round of paperwork is needed to be filled out. PPCD was a struggle with us.  We had good and bad days, a lot of transitioning and moving around to find the right program that fits your child’s needs.
As of today I am happy to report that my son is in a “pre” Pre-K program that has been tailored to fit his needs. He receives speech therapy, and outside speech therapy, at a place, I could not be happier with.  MY SON IS SPEAKING!!!!! he is not where he needs to be, BUT he has made leaps and bounds considering where we started, and starting next year he will be starting general ed Pre-K!!!!! We are beyond blessed and excited for our little man, and how far he has come! I could literally go on and on about his story. I still cannot fully talk about it without getting choked up, but thinking about how far we’ve all come puts the biggest smile on my face!!! You are more than welcome to share our story. I have the names, and numbers of SO many therapy centers and people that can help children with disabilities so if you need those I will gladly send them to you if anyone else reaches out. I can talk to anyone if they need to know the process.  The important thing is that you as the parent are your child’s BIGGEST voice and advocate, you have a right to tell the school if you do not agree with something. There are laws that protect us! I encourage parents to do their homework and read up on all the disability/educational laws to get the most out of their child’s education!!! I also have mastered the task of tuning out people with their wonderful comments; “He doesn’t look autistic.” “He just needs a good spanking.” (Insert HUGE eye roll here).
Please let whoever know they aren’t alone if they are going through something similar. I’m no expert by any means, but I’ve learned so much and I know just talking or emailing helps with coping. 

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