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Monday, September 12, 2011

Pictures of the Autism Walk

Laurel Autism Speaks Walk a Success

Over 700 people participated and $19,000 was raised at the first annual Laurel Montana Autism Speaks Walk. It was a huge success and amazing to be a part of.
Thomas sold 3 pieces at his booth at the Walk for a total of $390 raised for Autism Speaks. Thomas's most famous piece, "Unity" will be the logo for next year's T-Shirts.
I can't be more proud of my brother!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Getting Ready for the Autism Speaks Walk

Thomas is sketching away, furiously, trying to get ready for the autism walk. He will have a booth there, with his art. Come out and support him! 
The walk is Sunday, September 9 @ 1:00pm at Thompson Park in Laurel, MT.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Sibling Experience

I think back of my experience growing up as a sibling with a brother who has autism. I always felt protective of my brother but there were a lot of moments of trepidation. We were always worried about Thomas in public or Thomas interacting with people. Because of his autism, we were never sure what would come out of Thomas's mouth. When he was very young, he would do things like crawl under lady's dresses or play with people's arm fat. It was embarrassing and we were always on the look out for what he might do or say. I was always ready at a moment's notice to step in and apologize on his behalf.

However, now that Thomas is a grown man. I find myself still doing it - to an extent. But now Thomas knows what he wants and says what he feels. If I try to step in now, Thomas will correct me and say something along the lines of, "Anna, let me talk!" It is hard to break a habit like that. But Thomas has a right to say what he wants now and he is to the point where he understands the things he says can affect people. He is very appropriate. So I have to work on not wanting to guard everything Thomas says but I don't think I'll ever outgrow the need to protect him!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Thomas made a National Blog!!

So excited that more and more people are getting to see what an amazing talent and person Thomas is. Susan Mauro and Thomas recently made the national blog. Check it out! 


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Thomas's successful night at the Autism Speaks Silent Auction

Thomas had a great night at the Autism Speaks Silent Auction. He was able to raise $265 from five of his pieces! When we asked Thomas how this felt, he responded, "I'm not used to having all this attention!"
Founder of the Autism Speaks walk for Laurel and the Montana Autism Awareness page, Susan Mauro, will be having Thomas work with her during other autism events. We are very excited to get Thomas this exposure and hopefully he will get an opportunity to speak about his autism and do his artwork full time.

We are so excited for Thomas!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

From Thomas's Mother, "Trust Your Instinct"

When asked what advice you can give other mothers who have children with autism, she replied, "Trust your instinct. If you know in your heart that something is different about your child - trust it. I kept doubting my instinct when Thomas was an infant and no one seemed to know what was wrong. It was not until a family friend had finished babysitting Thomas and told me that there was something going on. So it was then that I decided to pursue testing."

Friday, August 19, 2011

A Little About My Brother, Thomas

First, I would like to give you a little biography on my brother, Thomas. Thomas was born July 11, 1988. Right away, our family knew something wasn't quite right. Thomas was tested for blindness and hearing impairment, but both tests came back normal. All of Thomas's developmental stages were delayed. He did not speak until age 4. My mother sought additional testing from the preschool special education program and Thomas was placed in special education at the age of 3. Thomas also had a seizure disorder; compact partial seizures. Because no one knew for sure what was wrong with Thomas, my mother never allowed the doctors or teachers to medicate him - which, being a special education teacher myself - I fully support!
Throughout Thomas's school years, doctors and specialists were unable to diagnose Thomas because no one truly knew what was going on. He was diagnosed with everything from mental retardation to learning disabilities to ADHD. However, it was not until Thomas's was 13 years old, that he was diagnosed with a high functioning form of autism with severe learning disabilities, speech language impairment. He also struggles with anxiety, OCD, and a distortion of fantasy from reality.
Currently, Thomas has a case manager provided through AWARE. He is currently on a list of services provided through MONA, which provides services such as transportation, assisted living, etc. 

In high school, Thomas excelled in speech and drama. He is a talented actor. He can memorize movies and act them out word for word. Thomas currently lives at home. He is a green belt in karate. In the summer, he works in my family lawn business and also works at Subway on the weekends. Thomas volunteers at our local library. Thomas enjoys watching movies, TV, and playing XBOX. Most of all, he enjoys his art. Thomas wants to make a future as an artist. He is currently creating a comic book.