The Boles Family | Texas| Samarie-Lei Photography
Avery Winter Boles, 4 years old, "full of wonder."
All imagery was taken by Jessica Pajimula of Samarie-Lei Photography. Jess followed this family for a few hours while Avery was in therapy at Cole Pediatric Therapy in Tomball, Texas and then to the park and back home. She did an incredible job capturing an authentic day-in-the-life of a family touched by autism.
The delicately beautiful words were written by Avery's mom, Kate.
Kate, thank you for taking the time to understand our mission, respect this process, and authentically and thoroughly share your story with us -- it means more to us than we could ever express.
Here is Avery's Story
Written by Kate Boles:
Avery Hated her second birthday party. She didn’t want to see everyone there at our house, she didn’t understand why her toys weren’t out lined up in our shoes anymore, she didn’t want to be held by papa. She didn’t want to take pictures in the chair with balloons, that were enclosing in on her personal space. And she absolutely did not want to wear a heavy gold glitter bow in her hair. She didn’t want to taste the yucky, messy, chocolatey birthday cake.
Later that summer, we found ourselves asking, is Avery where she should be? Shouldn’t she be trying to talk more? No gibberish anymore? How many words should she really be saying at this age? As a first time mom I was slowly starting to compare my perfect, beautiful wild child to my niece who even though 10 months older was pretty far ahead of Avery in many aspects. I hated myself for comparing her and wondering why won’t she just would not answer to her name? Why isn’t she looking at me? Why does she only eat these three foods? Why does she stack her little people in my tennis shoes?
That August, when she was about two and a half, we called her pediatrician and expressed concerns about her delay in speech. It was pretty hard to sit there and say “no she can’t do that,” Nope, No, No, not that either” I felt this sinking feeling that how did this happen? Where did this come from? What is Autism? I still remembering googling it and seeing graphics explaining the “red flags” to look for. Avery had quite a few of those red flags and it become so clear when I couldn’t even wrestle her to the ground to weigh her at the doctor. I knew nothing going on inside her head or how she felt in that moment. I couldn’t understand why she wasn’t acting like the other kids her age.
I walked out of that doctors office with a pretty certain idea of “my child has autism” and a referral to a neurologist. Being a pretty young mom, I quickly began to realize that life will never be the same, I grew up pretty fast, when before this bows and cute sandals to dress her up in were pretty fore front in my mind.
To be honest, the neurologist appointment two months later was quite a blur. Another fight to get into a doctors office, where it was very clear to us that Avery was not a neuro-typical child. It seemed so much more obvious in public when I saw a kid her age asking their mom for a toy at the store while Avery hummed and played with tissues in my bag. In between we had more evaluations from the school district more words on paper saying “your daughter is no where close to where she should be” or more technical jargon I couldn’t seem to understand just yet.
Somewhere in-between doctors visits and evaluations, Avery was attending mothers day out program at our local church. Just Tuesday and Thursdays for part of the day. After every passing day I had reports of refusing to nap, not staying in line, not playing with other kids, not sitting in circle and basically isolating herself to play in the directors office alone. The wonderful director finally sat me down to explain how they couldn’t handle Avery’s Behavior anymore and that she needed a lot more attention then they could give her here. I walked out holding Avery’s hand very tightly, just praying I could make it to the car before sobbing all the way home.
We left the neurologist appointment with so many pamphlets and folders for these therapies that my child now needed. It was the most overwhelming time for me to sit and try and make sense of what Autism spectrum disorder was. And to actually say this is our life now. ABA therapy was the first mentioned along with speech therapy which seemed more important to us in the moment. Not long after her appointment I received a call that now I know will have changed our lives for good.
Cole Academy, were the first to contact us about enrolling Avery in their all day, full time Monday through Friday Applied behavior analysis therapy. They came highly recommended from the neurologist. It all seemed so foreign to me but the location was close to our house and I had to find something to fit her needs, and to help teach us what Avery needed help with most.
I remember being so baffled by how we would be able to afford full time therapy for Avery and how insurance dealt with everything and what they would even be doing with her all day long. It quickly became a calming sense that this was the right thing for Avery and that she could thrive in this environment. We slowly got acclimated to this routine of going to “school” each day and waiting anxiously at pick up to hear how she did an if she said any new words or responded to her name, or how long she sat in the chair today before getting a goldfish.
That was 17 months ago that she started her therapies with Cole Academy and Cole pediatric health. Today we have a very different little girl. I have a girl that responds to her name, one that asks for water using three to four words. I have a little girl that played with the little boy at the park and told him which slide to go down. I have a child full of song and dance that lights up the room when she smiles. I have a child that loves her brother and runs to kiss his feet when he comes down in the morning with mommy. I have a child that asks me to change the song please! I have a child that smiles at me and gives me a real kiss. I have a beautiful wonderful daughter who sees the world differently and knows how smart she is.
I have a daughter that also can look me in the eye and respond loudly, RED!! Because her favorite color is the color of her brand new glasses. Glasses to help her navigate this big and wonderful world of Autism.
THIS is what a SPECTRUM INSPIRED session is all about. Thank you to all those involved, for your determination to help spread authentic autism awareness.