My son Anthony was diagnosed with autism at the age of two. He was fortunate enough to receive early intervention, which made a huge difference in his progress. I noticed he was missing all his early milestones as a toddler…he didn’t talk, didn’t want to be held, only wanted to play by himself, and lined his toys up instead of playing with them — all classic autism indicators. I took him to his pediatrician, where he was assessed by a developmental specialist. After her assessment, the moment I had dreaded came. She said, “Ms Iraci, I’m sorry to have to tell you your son has autism.” I broke down and cried, and to this day I still cry sometimes. But right then I knew I was going to fight as hard as I could for him.
They said Anthony might never speak, but he proved them wrong! He started intensive therapy immediately and was given Applied Behavior Analysis, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. Slowly he came out of his shell. It was amazing! He went to a special ed preschool, then to normal kindergarten with a para-professional therapist. At the age of five he learned to speak. He is now in 4th grade, and no longer works with a para-professional, just his individualized education program (IEP). He still gets speech and occupational therapy. I’ve had to fight the school system, but I don’t mind fighting for my son.
Anthony is the most loving, caring, amazing boy, and he has the grades of a 6th grader! I’m so proud how far he has come. Unless you’ve spent a lot of time with him, you wouldn’t even know he has autism. He plays football and bowls in the Special Olympics. He’s the most amazing boy in the world. A fighter, and a true success story!