Here are some videos featuring Ezra’s highlights and challenging moments.
This video is a short clip from last summer in 2009. This is actually really exciting because for the first time Ezra made the effort to connect with someone other than mom or dad. He absolutely loves my friend Curtis. He played with his two boys all summer long and we spent hours on the playground together. Ezra is trying to ask Curtis to come and push him in the swing. Notice the garbled words, lack of eye contact, and then the high pitched PUSH from Ezra. It is a good representation of why eye contact, clear speech, and social skills are so vital. Still, it was fantastic of Ezra to even try to connect with him.
This is what happens when Ezra gets an idea in his head and it doesn’t happen. In this case, I said at around 4 pm that we would go to the playground. He was thinking, playground date, which means I take them to this really big playground, which unfortunately 30 min away. That late in the afternoon we didn’t have time for that. This is an example of what difficulties arise from inflexibility, a common problem in autism and ADD kids.
This is an example of how difficult it is for Ezra to separate from us. This is actually a dramatic improvement. It took him only 4 minutes to calm down. In the past this could have gone on for 40-50 min. This was what the first 2.5 years were like with him. As soon as I would leave his eye sight, even if I was just walking around the corner, he would melt down like this. We discovered that he is highly motivated by Pixar animation car movies. I made a sticker book for him with certain challenges he has like trying new food, calming down, using words, listening, etc. Every time he does one of them he gets a sticker. We put it in his book, praise him like crazy, and then have him go show everyone else who is around what he got for good behavior. This technique is very effective in reinforcing good habits, because it gives you a chance to praise and motivate you kid.
What you have to understand about this video is that to us this is nothing short of a miracle. Most people think of miracles as things they have no explanation for, amazing feats that don’t seem possible for humans to accomplish, something that defies their logic, or in my opinion, defies their knowledge of laws and principles they have yet to discover. My four year old walks up to a computer at the airport and touches the screen to make it move, and is surprised to see that it’s not touch screen. Our kids take for granted that we can just get on an airplane to fly across the northern Hemisphere to visit family 8000 miles away, all within the same 24 hours. I even take flying for granted. I’m quite certain that if someone who lived even only 500 years ago could see this, he would consider it a miracle, an impossible feat. But flying is not much of a miracle: after all we understand the laws of aerodynamics, and we know how to manipulate the elements to manufacture parts with which to make an airplane.
10 months ago Ezra spoke only in one – two word sentences. He made no eye contact. He couldn’t answer a question. He wouldn’t interact with us really. He couldn’t sit still long enough to do anything, let alone read a book. He didn’t answer questions, and he certainly couldn’t ask any. Then when he became more aware of his surroundings, he started being violent towards Micah: pinch, bite, push, kick, hit, shove, annoy in any way possible, just to get him to scream and cry, only to then run away and laugh, and come back for more, all day, every day!
So with this in mind, would you not also call this a miracle? And how do we explain this miracle? The Son-Rise program, and what it stands for: love, and acceptance. Love is the only power that grows by sharing it with others. If anything or anyone is to change for good, it is through love, and a belief that people can change.