The Pena Family | Arizona | Susan Rice Photography


Abraham age 2 years old, "fearless, brave, energetic, happy."

Imagery by the talented Susan Rice Photography and words by Abraham's mom, Cynthia...

"Our story begins when Abraham was 8 months old, we noticed something was a little off with our baby boy as he did not imitate us. We brought the concern of him not waving to his pediatrician and she said to give him a little time that there were no calls for concern as of yet. Fast forward a couple months to his first birthday and I realized that Abraham had never said mama or any word for that matter. Once again we brought our concerns to his pediatrician and she said that he might just be a late talker. Abraham was also having really bad tantrums and we didn't quite know how to calm him or what was wrong so we also brought this forth to his pediatrician. She didn't think anything sounded alarming so she asked us to wait til he was 2 years old and see if he changed. Stan and I knew, we just knew, something wasn't right so we moved from Palm Springs, California to Tempe, Arizona as we heard there were more things we would be able to do for him here. We heard about AZ Early Intervention Program and got him signed up as fast as we could. We suspected for months that Abraham might have autism but no one ever confirmed it to us so we thought maybe he was just a little behind. 

On July 18th, 2017 we finally got our questions answered. We met with a developmental pediatrician at Melmed Center and she confirmed that Abraham has autism but not only does he have autism spectrum disorder, he has the most severe form. Stan and I were heartbroken, we had suspected he had autism but we didn't know it was that severe. I looked at my baby boy and the amount of love I feel for my son didn't change. Are there challenges? Yes, but this diagnosis doesn't define who my son is.

We love him more and more every day and I wouldn't change him for the world. The diagnosis just opened more doors for us to better help my son in areas he's behind. We've been told by many of his therapists in his life that he is the most sensory-seeking child they've seen in a long time. That is true, this boy will jump on the couches or his trampoline from the time he wakes up to the time he goes to sleep. We absolutely love it! Although sometimes, we do wish he would take a little break, we don't mind how much of an active little guy he is. We try our best to accommodate his every need and although he doesn't speak he is learning new ways to communicate with us. Since we've noticed something was off with him we've never had the chance to take a family portrait. It's rare to get a picture of him smiling while looking at a camera but when you do it is the most precious thing you could ever see. His smile makes everything in this world worth it. He brings us such a joy that I, nor my family, could ever live without. We truly love and treasure him. He is absolutely everything to us and we couldn't imagine our lives without him."

Spectrum Inspired.