Owen and Ben's Journey Through Autism

Owen and Ben's Journey Through Autism

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Feb.11, 2010-The day our lives changed forever..

This is my first blog ever.. and I mean ever.. so bare with me while I figure this whole thing out. I guess the perfect place to begin would be the day our lives truly changed forever..I don't mean we got pregnant, or we bought a house, or we divorced. I would say this change was the most significant and would begin our journey as a family, for our amazing son Owen. Before Feb.11 this year, I suspected there was something, "different" with my 1st born, which most of my family and in-laws thought I was being paranoid. Looking back, I can not really blame them for feeling that like, I mean my husband Ryan and I both are employed for Bethesda.. an agency helping people with developmental disabilites and behavioural issues. I work/worked with many clients on the Autisim spectrum, and have been doing this for 5 years this year... so maybe I was looking for something out of nothing. I put my thoughts on the back burner, and ruled it out as, "Boys take longer...", but it never fully left my mind.

Then around 17 months.. Owen began to regress. What is regress? Loosing something you once had.. for Owen, he lost words.. he lost proper play with toys.. and my suspisions came back... especially when my daughter Madelynn began to catch up to Owen.. and then 2 months ago, she passed him on communication and speech. Since I am not a Doctor.. and have an, "I know everything" attitude, I wanted to rule out EVERYTHING else before confirming my over-whelming feeling that my son has Autisim.

I did what I thought every good parent would do... I first got Owen's hearing tested.. he passed.. with flying colours.. so it wasn't that. I then thought I would look into speech therapy, so we began that in September 2009, this should help him increase his speech and help with proper play with toys. Owen did very well, and we finished this at the beginning of February.. but no incrase in vocab.. in fact, he lost more words. I finally had enough.. and with my mother right by my side, I asked my family Doctor for an Autisim assessment, as my suspisions were tearing me up inside.. and I needed them confirmed or ruled out.

Assessment was Feb.11, 201o.. a date I will always remember. After the Doctor met Owen, he right away had a feeling.. the feeling I had as a mother... and after furter discussion, Owen was diagnosed with Autisim. I broke down. Why break down when I knew all this time? Because it was confirmed.. my one fear of many for any of my children was confirmed... and my heart sank. I even stopped his vaccinations at 6 months, as Ryan and I had the biggest fear our child could be Autistic from the shots.. but he wasn't. I can not blame the shots... I can not blame anything. So, the day we found out.. I had a self pity day.. I cried.. I felt bad for Owen.. I felt bad for my other children.. and I felt bad for Ryan and I.

I felt no one is going to understand.. no one is going to treat him the same.. will get married? finish school? live with me the rest of my life? this is the end.. then Feb.12, 2010.. I woke up. Owen IS going to have an amazing life, and I can help make that happen. One of the biggest benefits of where Ryan and I work, is our unlimited resources, and I used them to the fullest extent. I called everywhere I could think of, joined Autisim Ontario-Niagara Chapter.. called all my very close friends we work with, and got Owen signed up for Private IBI Therapy... and he is only 2 1/2! This is called Early Intervention, which is EXTREMELY critical in Therapy.

Doing all this for Owen and our family, made me realize Owen's life is not over, it has only just begun. He is one of the smartest little boys I have seen in my life, and I am blessed he is my son. There are so many programs available now, and I honestly think Ryan and I were given Owen for a reason.. and we work where we do for a reason as well.

If you are reading this, and thinking, "well how did you know what to look for".., "what did Owen have that made him Autistic"... remember every child is different, and develop differently as well. If your child does fall on the spectrum, embrace it. Do as much reading as you possibly can.. join support groups, and believe me, all of it has helped us.

So, is Owen's life over - hell no... it is only just beginning.. and I am scared, excited, nervous, and happy to be starting this journey with him.... and you.

thanx for reading...

"As a parent, I find more inspiration in the everyday miracles than the 'Wow, he's cured' stories"


  1. Vanessa, you have so much strength, Ryan as well. I am very proud to be able to call you two wonderful, amazing parents my friends. Owen, Maddie and Ben have the most amazing parents. I know Owen will do great with anything that comes his way because he has you and Ryan in his corner, as well as everyone who loves him. God Bless you and your beautiful family:)

  2. vanessa you are very strong!! and i have no doubt that he will have an amazing life.