From Ethan’s Mom
Ethan is an amazing 7 year old who has low functioning/severe autism. He is an absolute joy. He loves to dance and jump and spin, he loves letters and playing in water and making patterns out of things. He is the third of four children in our family. He has a 9 year old sister, an 8 year old brother, and a 5 year old little sister. His dad is a computer support technician, and his mom has her hands full being a mommy and homeschooling.
It was obvious from a very young age that Ethan was different from his siblings. He was calm and happy for the most part, but any time there was any change in routine it upset him. He was also very sensitive to loud noises, bright lights, different textures in foods, lots of activity around him, and many other things. He never slept, and it seemed the smallest things would send him into a huge meltdown. At two years old, when he still had not developed any speech he was diagnosed with classic autism. As we learned more about the sensory processing issues that typically accompany autism, all of Ethan’s behaviors started making sense. And with that knowledge came hope that we would be able to help him and that he would eventually overcome all the challenges he faced. He entered into intensive therapy and over the last five years he has made great progress, but we still have a long road ahead of us. We are so proud of him, but it’s also painful to watch your child have to work so hard and struggle so much with things that just come easily to most people. Imagine, if you will what it must be like to walk out the door of your house and just be overwhelmed with the sights and sounds and smells of the world. And then imagine not having the words to communicate how you’re feeling or what you need. There have been so many times that Ethan has seemed like he was perfectly fine, and then something either caught his eye or he became upset for some reason and he would just start running. Because he has no concept of danger, he would just keep running until he was stopped. We live with the constant fear that one day we won’t be quick enough. We have to constantly have our guard up, to be watching to make sure that he’s okay. The worst day of my life was on a family vacation. We were at a condo by a lake and he got out of the condo. I went the opposite way that he had gone to try to find him, and when I did find him he was in the lake. By the grace of God, he had gone in at the only place where there was a shallow incline instead of a drop off. He could have died. It happened so fast.
This is why having a fence for our back yard has become so vital for us. It has reached the point where we just can’t use our yard unless his daddy is home; he is too fast for his mom to catch! We are so thankful for our home, but we would love to be able to have a safe place for Ethan to experience the outdoors while he learns to manoeuvre this crazy, overwhelming world.
*From Ady’s Army-Please note that with Ady’s Barracks, building a fence is not an exact science. We have factored in worst case scenario to building a fence for Ethan and his family. If there is money left over for the campaign, it will allocated to another branch of Ady’s Army (Paws and/or Wings). Thank you for your understanding.