Living with Autism
Katie says her son Christian progressed normally for the first two years of his life. "He walked, talked, did everything on time," she says. "[He was] a beautiful, loving little boy."
Then, Katie began to notice a regression in his development. "I noticed he was losing words, and I thought I was crazy," she says. "I thought I was doing something wrong." Instead of saying, "I love you, Mommy," Katie says her son would stare at her blankly like he didn't understand her anymore.
A pediatrician chalked Christian's behavior up to the fact that Katie had just given birth to a new baby, but she says she knew there was something else wrong. Eventually, Christian was diagnosed with autism.
Jesse's son Adam also developed normally at first. Then, when he was 18 months old, Jesse says the twinkle in his son's eyes started to fade away. "It was just devastating because I was losing my boy to a world that I didn't understand or could comprehend," he says.
Like many Americans, Jesse says the only example of autism he had ever seen was in the movie Rain Man. "I said, 'Adam's not like Rain Man,'" he says. "That was my reference."
When Michele first noticed that her son Danson was behaving differently, she says she mistakenly thought he was going deaf. After many misdiagnoses, she also learned the truth.