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  • Click to view DeenaRivera's profile
    Posted March 29, 2012 by
    Tampa, Florida
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Life with autism: Share your story

    Warriors for Autism

    At 21 months old Anthony lost all his speech and regressed into autism almost overnight. He became a non verbal and very frustrated little boy for several years. We were unable to hug or caress him in any way without him screaming like it hurt. He would meltdown from sensory overload after just moments in a public place and would bang his head on the floor to express his anger. Although there were many trial and error periods, and believe me we tried most everything, including loads of love and patience. Anthony has progressed into a sweet 13 yr old with a zest for learning! He attends a mainstream class in a private school here in Tampa has a great group of friends and is a very charming volunteer.

    He helps out during our charity events and loves to recruit children for the summer camp program we run on a local horse farm for children on the spectrum and their siblings. He delights in riding on the horses and walking the nature trails with his sister and fellow campers, collecting interesting items along the way.

    Anthony likes working with his hands and enjoys both cooking and building models. There is no easy road when your faced with rasing a child with Autism but regardless of the obstacles there is always faith and hope. We are so proud of how far he's come and can't wait to see how far he can go from here!

    We know this is not the case for many children on the Autism Spectrum so many are still trying to find their voice, their skills, their way out of their own head but we give back as much as we can to families that are looking for outlets, information and resources in Tampabay so they know they are not alone. That we have been there and we understand. They should never lose hope. We would have never believed for ourselves when he was a toddler that he would ever be this self sufficient and interactive. You have to be willing to try it all and see what works best for your family and never, ever quit no matter what.
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