Friday, May 25, 2007

Healthbeat: Autistic Man Speaks For First Time In Over 50 Years (KSDK) -

In case you ever want to ask me why I work so hard for my girls? In case you ever question my love and devotion for my girls? In case you think I don't accept my girls for who they are? In case you think for one minute I will ever stop fighting for the best treatments for my girls? Read on my friends. My girls, like Danny Will, are locked inside their autism. I will search for the key until I take my last breath. Don't agree? Ask Danny what he wishes his family had been able to do so many years ago before we had the knowledge we have today.

Also, I'd love to know if Danny Will took a med before his surgery that opened up his ability to speak? Was it fear that brought out the words?

I remember the day that Mia said something similar. She was a toddler, said very little. No sentences. We were at the Ralph Lauren Outlet in The Laurel Mountains of PA. Mia was standing up in her stroller and I said, "MIA! SIT DOWN!" to which she responded "I CAN'T SIT DOWN!" It was the first spontaneous sentence she'd ever uttered. Mia is in there. Gianna is in there. Bella is in there. Mama's coming, girls. Hang on.

Here's the article.

Imagine not speaking for more than 50 years.By Kay QuinnHealthbeat ReporterThat was the case for Danny Will, a local man with autism. Will will turn 60 in August and hadn't spoken for nearly 55 years.Will functioned normally during his first few years of life. Around the age of five he was diagnosed with autism. His father died when he was seven. By the time he was 13 and his mother had to institutionalize him atFulton State Hospital. "He didn't speak the entire time he was in that institution," saidMary Vanderklok, a training specialist at the Judevine Center forAutism.In 1993, at the age of 43, Will came to live at Calverton House, a home for people with autism run by the Judevine Center.

Like many people with autism, he works and does chores, but also gestures andengages in repetitive behavior."Receptively, he understands directives," said Vanderklok. "He understands what you're saying to him, what's expected of him but a deficit for most people with autism spectrum disorder is that expressive language.

"In all of his time at Calverton House, Will still wouldn't speak --until last summer. He was taken to a local hospital for a test on his heart and he spoke his first words in more than 50 years." And that was, 'I don't want that -- get away,' which was amazing,"said Vanderklok.Will still only speaks occasionally and only to those caregivers heknows well.

"That's a remarkable man. There's just no other way to put it," saysDeVona Miner, a caregiver at Calverton House.In spite of his silence, those who know him said Will is happy. Theyalso said he is living proof that we should all keep highexpectations for people with autism."We really didn't think Danny would ever speak. He surprised us in that, so I think our motto is never give up," said Vanderklok.


irene said...

Thanks for sharing this article, Kim! I especially love the end statement...our motto "never give up!"

Lisa said...

Kim, you are a warrior for your girls, that much is clear. Do you think you could clear up this problem we've been having in Iraq?

Kim's no General said...

Lisa - funny you say that. My first HuffPo piee was about why Bush should have appointed an autism Mom to head up the Iraq and the ending was "Because an autism Mom always has an exit strategy."

mcewen said...

I read this too. Quite staggering. And no - I don't think any of us ever doubt your intentions.
Best wishes

Amanda said...

HURRAH!! Good for you Kim! Glad to hear your friend is till employed.
Interesting article - my youngest is non-verbal but when in hospital having a blood test being held down by me and two nurses while the doctor tried to take it was screaming "Let me go!" so I feel it is a stress reaction - like flight/fight reflex. Would be interested if you hear of any research into this area.
Thanks for the tip on the carpet, just hope I can find some here! Liquid soap is the favourite at the moment, probably have more on the hall floor than carpet right now.
Coincidently there was anews article on BBC today regarding alcohol during pregnancy and I was interested to hear you can actaully be arested for drinking whilst pregnant in America and the vendor can be prosecuted too. A step to far I think, in the light of NO evidence to suggest damage to the foetus by moderate drinking eg 1 unit 2 or 3 times per week.

Michelle O'Neil said...


Your girls are lucky to have you as their mom. I too believe they will tell you that, in spoken words, one day.

Kim dreams big said...

Thanks. I hope one day they can say "I hate you Mom! You're so mean! All my friends are going to the quarry!" :)

kathie said...

Hey Kim, has someone questioned your intentions? I simply question whether you take amphetamines (sp?) or not because I don't have a tenth of your energy. You're amazing and your daughters are lucky.

Kim sees her fortune! said...

Amphetamines? Hmmmm - do they come in chocolate flavor? There are lots of people in the autism world who question the intentions of parents who are working like dogs to recover their kids as far as the Good Lord is willing. I've written about them in my HuffPo pieces. Amphetamines. Chocolate covered Amphetamines. My fortune awaits!

Biting your tongue hurts said...

I should add that some people in the autism world who have a VERY different opinion from mine regarding treatment are friendly, engaging and open to excellent discussions. I love that part. Those who call me names and such? I try not to fire back - I know I shouldn't but ooohhhh it's tempting! LOL!