Murphy Family | Lexington MA | Kristin Chalmers Photography

Thank you to Kristin of Kristin Chalmers Photography for volunteering your time to document Dylans session with his Mum Heather.


Dylan’s mum Heather shares with us part of their story..

“After going into the hospital two days before his due date, Dylan came into the world right on time. June 26th, 2011 was (and remains) the happiest day of my life. 

Dylan slept most of his first two weeks of life. After those two weeks he woke up and hasn’t slept much since! In addition to having acid reflux and colic, Dylan had an umbilical hernia and hated being on his back (which of course is the safest way for babies to sleep), he also hated anything that buckled around his belly button. The swing, bouncy seat and car seat were all miserable for him. He was only happy when he was being held. I ended up sleeping in the rocking chair with him sleeping on my chest until he was 7 months old. Dylan began crawling at 6 months and walked at 9 months. Everyone said he had been focusing on these gross motor skills and they weren’t concerned that he wasn’t trying to talk yet or coping facial expressions, or even responding to his name. 

Dylan and I spent a lot of time swimming at our local YMCA during the winter months. It was there that the realization of something not being quite right hit me. Looking back, there were things that didn’t quite add up from the time Dylan was a couple months old, but I wasn’t ready to bring myself to truly accept it until that day. There was a giant digital clock on the opposite end of the pool. Dylan loved that clock and would typically spend the majority of our swim time looking at that clock. He wouldn’t look at me or interact with me, he would look right past me and focus on that clock. This particular afternoon there was a little girl, probably 7 or 8 months old, swimming in her mother’s arms and she was not only babbling but she was looking at her mom and really interacting with her. I, again, tried to get Dylan to look at me and he wouldn’t. We left the pool shortly after and that night I had a complete emotional break down. 

The next morning, I began making phone calls, determined to find out what was going on with my son and how I could help him. Dylan began receiving OT, speech and behavioral services through early intervention. He said his first word, “go”, on January 19th, 2014. After hearing him say that first “go”, I spent every waking minute working with him on sounds and words to try to get him to talk more. He had quite a few words by the time he aged out of EI five months later. 

Dylan began an integrated preschool that September and received his autism diagnosis shortly after. He also received his ADHD diagnosis while in preschool. He thrived there for two years. I am forever grateful to everyone who worked with him in those two years. In addition to going to school, I had him in private speech and OT. 

The summer before going into kindergarten, Dylan tested out of private speech as he was not only completely verbal, his speech was at his appropriate age level, for the first time. He began kindergarten that September and did much better than I had expected. He grew so much as a student in kindergarten. During kindergarten, Dylan had been falling a lot, which wasn’t like him at all, and after months of fighting with doctors and undergoing various tests, we found out he has epilepsy. It was also around that time that he was diagnosed with PICA. 

As first grade quickly approached, I began to see a change in him. Dylan had been a happy little boy since he grew out of his colic many years ago. I’ve always said he is a child whose light and joy shine from within. He has such a pure, sweet heart. My sweet, happy little boy began becoming an angry little boy. Dylan had a very tough year, filled with too many doctors appointments to count. We spent a lot of time at the ER and in the hospital as well.

Dylan has been doing better for the last couple months. Although things are far from perfect, I’m not taking his healthy moments for granted any longer. Dylan struggles with sensory issues in addition to all of his other daily struggles and there are days that he can’t handle being anywhere but home. Those days are long and lonely. Our journey with autism has been anything but easy, but I wouldn’t change Dylan for anything.”

Check out their fun session below!

Ellie Meachem