Yesterday, we told you about the 2009 National Autism Association Conference in Florida this November. The video below is a gorgeous advertisement for why you should attend the conference. This beautiful, nine year old child was non-verbal until just weeks ago.
Her Mom has attended every National Autism Association Conference. Because this child is Aly Fournier, daughter of NAA President Wendy Fournier. The video is called "Aly's Letters." Just see if you can stop smiling while you watch this.
From Wendy on 7/24/09: Friends, I have a miracle to share with you! It's all about Hopeism. My daughter Aly is 9 years old and severely injured by her vaccines - diagnosis: Autism. She has never had functional language. I have a recording on my computer of her saying Mama when she was about 11 months old. I haven't heard it since. The last 7 years have been more difficult than I can say, but many of you don't need an explanation, you're living it.
When Aly was diagnosed, I hit the ground running. I soaked up everything I could about autism, vaccine injury, therapies, biomedical treatments, attended conferences, asked a million questions, talked to doctors and other parents, spent sleepness nights searching Pubmed. I was absolutely convinced that she would be perfectly fine and recovered by First Grade.
First grade came and went, she'll be a 4th grader this fall. She's been making slow progress over the last couple of years, but painfully slow and no big "Wows". She's finally potty trained which I am extremely grateful for! She's sleeping through the night, with rare exceptions. She's using picture exchange to make very basic requests, but is still unable to tell us how she feels, or if something hurts.
This past winter was so hard. I looked at her one day and really saw her. It hit me like a truck how sick she is, and I started grieving for everything that's been stolen from her and our family. The holidays, dreaded birthdays that simply mark the passage of another year without recovery, the joy of having friends, going to the movies, being able to play outside without the worry of her running into the street, and family vacations? Not even a possibility.
Enough of that, I'll get to the good stuff. This past week, my non-verbal little girl started SAYING letters. Looking at them, pointing to them, and getting the sounds to come out of her mouth. She's never been able to do anything like this before. It's AMAZING! I've been hesitant to even say anything about it because I'm so terrified that it will go away. But I need to share this with all of you who have been fighting so long. When Aly's 9th birthday came and went, I was beginning to wonder if she would ever be able to find her voice. And now she has! Hope has been dumped all over me and I'm filled with excitement about what's to come!
Update – 2 weeks later: Aly is now verbally labeling all of her letters, numbers to 10, and naming about 35 objects and people - including Mommy! She has also started using her voice to request her favorite things – showers and cookies!
The treatment category is sponsored by Lee Silsby, the leader in quality compounded medications for autism.