KoiThis is Koi. She is four years old. Koi loves music, dancing, and “cooking” (plastic) food- especially carrots. My parents recently gave Koi an iPad, and her communication skills have really taken off as a result. She loves her preschool and especially her teacher, Miss Laura. My hope for Koi is that she will live a meaningful life full of hope, love, and happiness.

KaiKai is six years old and was diagnosed with autism shortly after he turned two. His intelligence and fun-loving personality, so well hidden when he was first diagnosed, has now blossomed. He loves math, planets, the human body, and laughing.

LolaThis is Lola. She was diagnosed with autism at the age of 20 months. Lola loves to laugh, always has a smile on her face and is the silliest princess you will ever meet! She has the most genuine smile and gives fabulous hugs. She is a big fan of music and can match anything under the sun. Lola has taught us all that faith can move mountains. Lola keeps life interesting.

RoryRory is our happy 4 year old son. He was diagnosed with autism at 3 years old. He loves to stay moving! He has an amazing imagination and is over the moon about trains. Rory has recently begun speaking in complete sentences which is amazing since he stopped speaking at 2 completely! We also have 2 other “typical” children so it is definitely a wild ride.

AmberThis is my ‘Autistic Biscuit’, Amber. She is very verbal, but that wasn’t always the case. She was officially diagnosed with Autism after a long battle with the school system to change the diagnosed from ADHD, PPD-NOS. Her doctor is wonderful and helped us the entire way. Amber began speaking in full sentences when we removed dairy from her diet at age 3 years 8 months- we will be removing gluten soon.

RufusRufus is 10 years old, diagnosed with autism six years ago, and is currently in 5th grade in a full inclusion setting in a small elementary school in Baltimore. He has some significant challenges in communication and behaviors, but he is a generally happy boy with lots of smiles. While talking is difficult for Rufus, music (on an electronic keyboard), drawing (paper or computer) and surfing the web are activities that he excels at. He’s also picking up skills in his second season on the Special Hockey team, The Baltimore Saints. While there are challenges in raising an autistic child there are unique joys that I would never trade away.

MartinMartin (age 5) on the right was diagnosed with PDD-NOS two years ago. His more prominent symptoms were very significant language development delay and also significant social delay. In short, at 3yo he talked like an 18 month old, comprehended less. He threw lots of fits, many related to his difficulty understanding what was going on. He continues to have significant behavior and speech issues but has made amazing (to us) progress. In this picture he is playing with his 18month old typically developing sister.

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