8 years old | Arizona
Elliott was diagnosed at age 2, just a few months before his 3rd birthday. He could say a few words at age 1 but by 18 months was back to babbling. He wouldn't respond to his own name and he was violent to himself and to his mom. Nobody wanted to play with him and it was heartbreaking to watch, as his mom felt helpless. He was a frustrated little boy, which led to tantrums and running away when taken out in public. He started speech therapy before his diagnosis and started saying a few words at age 3. He started OT and a behavioral program at 3 and by the age of 4 he had progressed to sentences and the frustration was finally melting away.
His brother Gibson, 21 months younger, used to interpret for him when others couldn’t understand what he wanted or needed. They have a beautiful friendship always looking out for each other, and also fighting like brothers do. Elliott completed 4 years of intensive therapy before we felt like he was well enough to proceed with school provided services. He goes to a private Autism Academy where he has been for 3 years and has flourished. Last year, they named him student of the year out of all the kids in his school, not only for being a good student but for being an amazing friend to everyone! His Dad and I couldn't have been more proud and sobbed through senior graduation, where he was presented with his award.
Elliott is now 8 and was recently baptized. His favorite things are playing with friends, riding his bike, playing Prodigy (an online math game) and riding his skateboard. Elliott still has struggles with food and sometimes being over stimulated but generally he seems like a typical 8-year-old boy, something I was afraid I'd never be able to say about him. He's incredibly independent, sometimes too much so, but always solving his own problems and helping others solve theirs. One of the most amazing qualities Elliott has is the ability to read your heart without you showing any emotion. He knows when my husband or I am struggling and need extra love no matter how well we hide it. It’s as though his soul can talk to other souls.
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