A Move For Autism
When my oldest Son, Keon, was born, he was less than 4lbs. He had a feeding tube and very acute jaundice. Early on I noticed that Keon did not speak. By 15 months, still no words. I told his doctor of my concerns at every visit but I was only 20 years old and very afraid. I was told repeatedly, "Oh he's just a boy. He'll grow out of it." Well, he didn't. At age 4 Keon was diagnosed with Autism. When my next two children were born, I knew immediately. Kesean also did not speak and Travis hated to be touched. Our early years together were very difficult. I mourned my living children, blaming myself for their difficulties. I was unable and unwilling to accept that this was our life. Then I decided that I could either curl up in a ball being of no help to my precious babies, or I could stand strong and help them in every possible way.
The tears still come at times but these days they are from happiness. After reading every shred of info I could get on Autism, I became my children's biggest advocate and their biggest fan. Two years ago I married my Best Friend and the boys gained a Father, 3 more brothers, and something we hadn't had before: a support system. There have been major changes with the boys. They are INCREDIBLE!! They do new things each day that surprise and awe me and with more support, I believe the possibilities for my guys are endless. That's where I need your help!
In 2011, I moved to Atlanta with my boys to connect them to The Marcus Center, an institute dedicated to treatment of people with Autism. At the time, only Keon was diagnosed and with these new resources coupled with the intuitive new school district, Keon began to make major progress. For the first time, my child was talking!
However, due to circumstances beyond my control, we had to move back to Tennessee. The services my children do receive here have helped. My children's teachers and speech therapists are amazingly dedicated to helping them succeed. Unfortunately, our school system lacks the support that Special Education students need and there are not many resources in the community for Autism. Services are so sparse that a couple recently attempted to open a small school for children with Autism in our area. While this offers some hope, I just can't risk that not happening and waste even more valuable time. We need to move as soon as possible so that the boys can have the opportunity to thrive once again and maximize their great potential. The early years are key, and I am hoping they will be able to learn skills that will grant them their independence in future years.
So, here's where all the great people who love Keon, Kesean, and Travis come in! We are asking that if you can, please donate to our campaign. We are hoping to raise enough money to cover our moving expenses and to help us get established in Georgia. We'd also like to be able to travel back and forth between Knoxville and Atlanta periodically to maintain a strong relationship with our other 3 amigos. We’ve set the goal pretty high, but please don’t let that deter you. Every little bit counts and we’d be appreciative of anything, even the change you could spare. If you are unable to do so, please just spread the word, not only about us, but about Autism in general. Children and families dealing with Autism are as awesome as anyone else. We just need a little help over the hump sometimes ;-) Thank you so much for reading.
Just wanted to update and let you all know that we have finally moved! Thank you to everyone who supported us on this journey. You all helped make this move possible and I'm hoping that the boys all thrive from this change in our lives. Again, thanks so much for your help. You are greatly appreciated! If you'd like to keep up with the boys and our continuing Autism journey, follow our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/amoveforautism. Again, thank you so much for everything!
First of all, I would like to again thank everyone who has donated and shared our story! Your support is heartfelt and we thank you deeply. Secondly, no we haven't moved yet (ikr, bummer). Every dollar given to us is still there waiting for the move, and we have also been saving. I stopped posting about our story as much because there is just so much going on in the world. There is history being made as well as much tradgedy that requires all of our attention and efforts and it just didn't seem right to do.
It is not easy relocating to another state, and it is even harder with a large family. Harder still with 3 children with Autism. But, we are still focused and hopefully we will be on our way soon. Thanks so much!!!
Oh hun my heart goes out to u. I have a 12 yr old Autistic child. And other kids as well. I could not imagine having three Autistic kids. God bless you. I hope it works out
Rennie, you're an amazingly strong woman, wife, friend but most important mother. I admire how hard you go for them boys and am blessed to call you a friend. I truly hope you reach your goal Asap and get to move to where the boys will recieve the people educational tools they need. I'll be making my first contribution at the latest on Wednesday.
Youll see me pop nack up on Thursday :)
Thank you so much to each of you who have donated. Y'all mean so much to me.
I gotchu on the 1st