The Au-some A-Squad | Outnumbered | Written by Megan Elizabeth
Hello everyone! My name is Megan and I am the proud mama to my two little superheroes with autism, AJ and Asher. In our home, you will find visuals covering all of the walls, the lights off at all times in the kitchen, music and noise coming from multiple rooms, random 4 am dance parties, and endless pots of coffee brewing. Our home is an autism home. Our home is an AAC home (augmentative and alternative communication). But most importantly, our home is a happy home.
Why have I turned our house completely upside down to accommodate autism, you might ask? Well, it’s simple. I am outnumbered here.
I am the only adult here.
I am the only female here.
I am the only one who can verbally talk.
I am the only one who doesn’t have autism.
So it’s simple. I do what needs to be done to accommodate the 2/3 majority of this house. To keep them happy, to give them security, and to help them succeed. So pour yourself a cup of coffee and let me introduce you to my superheroes.
First up- this blonde haired beauty, Mr. AJ. AJ is 8 1/2 years old and was diagnosed with nonverbal autism shortly before he turned 4. His journey has been filled with struggles and hard work. When AJ was a baby, it quickly became clear that he could not put weight down on his legs. He couldn’t pull up on furniture, stand, or crawl when he reached the age of 1. Months of physical therapy, chiropractor visits, x-rays and specialist visits would finally lead to a hypotonia diagnosis around the age of 18 months. It was at this time that a neurologist first mentioned autism as a possible answer for the severe gross motor delays and lack of speech development. However, everyone thought that was crazy, our pediatrician included! But over the course of the next week, AJ changed before my eyes. My content boy started screaming all day. He stopped playing and stopped showing us things he knew (like quacking like a duck, the touchdown symbol, and clapping his hands), and he pulled away from most social interactions. AJ was put on the 9-12 month wait list for an autism evaluation, and in the meantime we kept pursuing his gross motor delays. At age 2 1/2 he learned to crawl and at age 4 he was diagnosed with autism. Then he surprised all of us and started walking at 5 1/2 years old! He is an extremely hardworking boy and has been through so much in his short little life!
Next up is my wild child Asher. Asher will be turning 7 in just a few weeks! He was also diagnosed with nonverbal autism and apraxia at 4 years old. Asher’s journey was a very slow process. When he was a toddler, he was slightly delayed with his gross motor skills, but ended up reaching all of the milestones at his own pace without any interventions. He wasn’t talking, but none of the professionals really felt an urgency to address that because AJ wasn’t speaking. He was the happiest baby and toddler, with a smile that could light up the room! Never did I imagine autism would be in our future for him. Over the course of age 3, Asher slowly started slipping into his autism. Anxiety and his need for routine really started to take over. Then one evening, I was standing in the freezer section of Target and watching him scream and cover his ears due to the sound of the humming coming from inside the freezer doors. That was the moment I knew I was seeing autism again.
We take each day as it comes in our house. We celebrate every little inchstone that the boys make and we push through every struggle they may have. We spend our summers bouncing around different therapies and squeezing in little sensory-friendly adventures when we can.
I have learned so much about life from these two boys. They have taught me about hard work, patience, and empathy. I never imagined my life would lead me to this position, but now I can’t imagine doing anything else.
I hope you will continue to join me as I share more about our life and our journey. It’s filled with laughter, love, perseverance, and two amazing boys that are finding their way through this world, with a coffee-loving mama who is along for the ride and learning everyday!