Our son Brenden inspired this site. Brenden is autistic. However, since the original diagnosis Brenden's development has improved in a number of areas. Everyone involved with Brenden has worked hard to get where we are today. Nobody has worked harder than Brenden. This is his story.
We want to provide information, inspiration and a smile. We hope we do.
"He's a Gerber Baby for sure.” The delivery room nurse said that on December 29, 1994, the day Brenden was born. "He sure is" I said, like a proud father of a beautiful child.
Brenden's early physical development was terrific. He crawled early and he began walking early. By the age of two, he was running all over the house, a big smile on his cherub like face and a head full of Shirley Temple curls.
We asked his pediatrician when Brenden should start talking. We were told not to worry that different kids start at different times. Michele and I discussed Albert Einstein not speaking until he was three. Maybe we had a genius on our hands.
However, we both grew more concerned about his inability to speak, Brenden did not say "Mommy" or "Daddy," like other kids his age. He did some other strange things too. Sometimes Brenden walked on his toes. He loved to line up toys, we thought he was just being neat. He had strange eating habits. At times he was aggressive.
Finally, when Brenden was about three, with the help of our HMO (yea, one did something right) we were referred to a child psychologist.
Pervasive Developmental Disorder-NOS (not otherwise specified), is what the psychologist told us. He said there was not much he could do. He referred us to an Early Intervention Program. He might as well have been speaking a foreign language.
The results of an Internet search confirmed what we dreaded and what no parent wants to see or read.
Why Brenden, why us is about all we could think.
After an evaluation, Brenden entered a preschool program. He completed preschool and now attends a severe emotional and behavioral disorders (SEBD) kindergarten program. I had left much of this burden on Michele's shoulders, this was unfair - she needed help!
In November 1999, I left my job to work full time for Brenden. My goal was to quickly fix all the problems and resume my career. That tells you how much I knew.
I started a crash course in Autism 101 to learn about autism and special education. Because of a background in government contracting, my focus was on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, IDEA.
This page was last updated on 03/20/02.