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Support4Hope
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Deer Lodge, TN
37726

Links to our Autism Support Group & Information

Finding Help and Hope With Autism

Paul

Adolescence was a good time for Paul. He seemed to relax and become more social. He became more affectionate. When approached, he would converse with people. For several months, drugs were used to help him control his aggression, but they were stopped because they caused unwanted side effects. Even so, he now rarely throws or breaks things.

Two years ago, Paul's parents were able to take advantage of new scientific understanding about autism, and they enrolled him in an innovative program that provides full-time support, enabling him to live and work within the community. Today, at age 20, he has a closely supervised job assembling booklets for a publishing company. He lives in an attractive apartment with another man who has autism and a residence supervisor. Paul loves picnics and outings to the library to check out books and cassettes. He also enjoys going home each week to visit his family. But he still demands familiarity and order. As soon as he arrives home, he moves every piece of furniture back to the location that is familiar to him.

Alan

The summer Alan was 6, after years with no apparent progress, his language began to flow. Although he reversed the meaning of pronouns, he began talking in sentences that other people could understand.

Now age 13, Alan has lost his constant obsession with lights, returning to it only when he feels stressed. He often burrows under a heavy pile of pillows, which seems to relax and comfort him. His fits of anger occur less often, but because he is bigger, he reacts with more force. Every now and then, he goes out of control, kicking, hitting, and biting. Once, at a shopping mall, he threw a tantrum so severe that his mother had to hold him down to control him.

At the same time, he has successfully made the transition to middle school and he is learning more quickly than before. He seems more aware of his surroundings and remembers people. He still doesn't play with other children, but often sits watching them from a window. It's as if he has become aware that he is different. He also seems more aware of his own emotions and at times he says quietly, "You sad."

Janie

Today, at age 4, Janie is enrolled in an intensive program in which she is trained at home by her mother and several specialists. She is beginning to show real progress. She now makes eye contact and has begun to talk. She can ask for things. As a result, she seems happier, less frustrated, and better able to form connections with others. She's also begun to show some remarkable skills. She can stack blocks and match objects far beyond her years. And her memory is amazing. Although her speech is often unclear, she can recite and act out entire television programs. Her parents' dream is that she will progress enough to enter a regular kindergarten next year.

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