Andrew has been diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder(ASD). He has a small deletion on chromosome 16. His diagnosis is chromosome 16p13.3 deletion and there are no other documentated cases with his particular karotype. He also has a seizure disorder and low muscle tone as well. This is Andrew's Journey describing his difficulties, our family, and our life.
I have become accustomed to being Andrew's voice for him. Don't get me wrong, we talk to him all the time, allow him to respond in his own way, and make choices as he is able to the best way he can. However, he doesn't have the ability to tell me why he's upset or anything that is happening to him. As most of you know, he has only verbalized 4-5 words in approximations inconsistently. So, I have to be his voice for him or he doesn't have one. However, until a few weeks ago I never imagined what that would truly mean. Andrew had been trying to tell me something for awhile and I discovered what it is he had been telling me all along. I felt like I had let Andrew down as a mother in one of the worst ways possible. It's been several weeks and still can't believe that we are facing this challenge right now. Even though I may have failed him by not recognizing what he was trying to tell me, I will not fail him now! It is my intention to bring advocacy to a new level. Andrew's voice is about to get very loud and clear. This has to be done so everyone hears his voice along with the other children who don't have one. Andrew and these children, just like neurotypical children, have thoughts and feelings and deserve to be heard! It's time someone speaks out for all these precious children! As things unfold over the next few days, weeks, and months I hope others will join me in giving these children even louder voices to be heard.