A Little About Me and My Son

In Behind the Scenes at Yosemite Blog

I don’t talk much about myself here. Some of you have seen my side projects or talked to me in person. A few have even read my profile. But in general, most haven’t. That’s why I wanted to stop and take a moment to talk a little about me and my son.

My son Zachary is 6 and loves the things most little boys love. He loves books and pictures. Loves video games and television. He loves playing outside and swimming and he loves going to Yosemite.

Zac meets Katie for the first time.

Zachary is special though. When he was a little over 2 he was diagnosed as being autistic. Although he loves the things other little boys love for the most part they are the only things in his world. Sure he sees other kids but to him they are barely there or non-existant.

Sadly, Zachary isn’t verbal. Sure, he has a few broken words and some noises that we’re able to interpret and he’s getting better all the time, but for the most part the average person would have a hard time figuring out what he’s trying to communicate.

Zac on the day he was confirmed autistic.

Although he doesn’t speak much and he can be very aloof at times, Zachary is a highly intelligent, beautiful, loving little boy. He’s open with hugs and kisses, he can figure out anything with buttons and we’re 100% sure he taught himself to read by age 5 (a major accomplishment for any child). He goes to classes at a public school and they really help.

No one is sure yet why or how children get autism. There is LOTS of speculation and theories, but then there’s lots and speculation about bigfoot and the Lochness Monster too. In either case there’s no concrete evidence. Autism isn’t a disease affecting only the poor, or the rich, or white or black or Chinese or Indian or boy or girl and doesn’t strike with rhyme or reason. The bottom line is it sucks.

Zac climbing El Cap in Yosemite.

April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day. If you’ve got a couple dollars to spare, maybe you skip eating out one day this week, please, make a donation to a charity that helps families with autism.

We’re lucky enough to have good jobs, a supportive family and a great education system for autistic kids but many aren’t. For many families it can be a huge burden and one that can take its tole on the parents and kids. Not every state and county has programs yet for children with autism so parents are forced to bear the burden of transporting and paying for education at special schools out of their own pocket in creasing the burden.

Zac sitting on a park bench in Knights Ferry California.

I personally support Autism Speaks but you can choose the charity you like. There are plenty working on this problem. Help out a family who needs it. Give these kids a chance to lead semi-normal lives. Please, donate today.

By the way, in case you were wondering why there weren’t any posts yesterday Zac has taken to wanting to watch his favorite music videos right before bed. Unfortunately they’re only on my Mac so we watch them on the bedroom monitor while he settles down for bed. Sometimes I fall asleep too.

Have a great night/day everyone. Thanks for reading Yosemite Blog.


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4 commentsOn A Little About Me and My Son

  • Loyd,

    I think I have mentioned this before, but my wife teaches third grade special needs children in a public school. Her pupils range form Cerebral Palsy to Mild Mental Retardation. She does have a few children with Autism. Last year most of her kids had Autism. They ranged from non-communication to high functioning.

    This year she has a little boy who transferred in from another school dist. He has Autism, non-communicative Autism. They moved into this school district form a neighboring district, because the school district where she works is regarded to be one of the better school districts in the state that provide these special needs services.

    This little boy couldn’t communicate and was very difficult and extremely disruptive in class. The teacher (my wife) and her aides closely worked with him all year. About three weeks ago in a conversation she mentioned to me that this little boy was communicating more and more everyday. She actually regarded him as very funny little boy.

    Her explanation for the dramatic turn around was the fact that they (teacher and aides) would constantly put him in situations that forced him to communicate and interact with other people. This is a major accomplishment and advancement for both the staff and child.

    I know my wife would never toot her own horn, but I am very proud of her and what she does for a profession. She is a caring person, and has a very special gift for teaching special needs children.

    Sometimes it just takes the right person to make a world of difference for a very special child.

    Keep a smile on your face and a skip in your step. As my fifth grade teacher Ms. Brezden used to make me write a million times, “Patience is a virtue in which great things happen”.

  • What were the 1st signs of autism that you noticed?

    • @rxkev43 He seemed to be developing normal language skills then began to regress. After that a fixation with spinning objects.

  • Hi Loyd,
    Thank you for sharing this about your family. I know this is a real challenge and from what I know about you as a person is that you will provide for your son the love and attention he needs. I have a neighbor with two austistic twins age two. They also have a 14 year old who was diagnosed with brain cancer this last Christmas eve and are now dealing with that too! I pray that you will have strength and patience through your experiences with your beautiful son, warmest regards,
    Paul Menard

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