April Autism Monthly Spotlight - AJ

Alex was born a healthy, happy baby in 1999. He was an affectionate, sweet boy who loved drawing and swimming. He developed normally, crawling and walking and climbing, and he even had several words, including “kittie” and “car.” He loved his Magna-Doodle and could draw recognizable pictures at a very young age. 

At some point around the age of 2 we realized that he had stopped talking. He didn’t learn any new words, and he stopped using the words he’d had. We had him evaluated by Early Intervention and brought in a speech therapist, who helped him learn to use his words again.  

We thought everything was all right, until we took him to an early childhood screening when he was three. They diagnosed him with autism. 

It was difficult at first, giving up the dream of this child we’d thought we had. His speech developed, but not in a normal way. He was verbal, but not really conversational. Luckily we have an excellent school district, with dedicated teachers and programs that helped him to achieve his potential. Today he is a happy, well-adjusted young man who still enjoys drawing and swimming. He has friends who he Face-times with and his lovely girlfriend, Morgan, who will accompany him to prom for the second time this year. He will always struggle with certain things, but he has come so far. He has incredible artistic talent, and we are hopeful that it will allow him to earn a living one day. He brings joy to our lives every day and we are so blessed to have him.

Tara Triefenbach