Our family has been blessed with a very special gift! Our son, our grandson, our brother, Ebony (the Boss) is four years old. He has brown curly hair, big brown eyes and the most adorable smile that could melt your heart. He loves letters, numbers, music and his family, especially when they are all outdoors. Looking at Ebony you would never know that he has a disorder called Autism.
Autism affects every aspect of Ebony’s life, and the lives of everyone around him. Ebony has come a very long way since his diagnosis in 2007. Since then, he has learned to say a few words, loves to work his computer, his big brothers’ and sister’s iPod touch, has a fascination with words and numbers, is attending regular senior kindergarten this September and loves to be with his family and their dogs. At home, if you hear a door open to the back yard, the odds are so very high that it’s Ebony heading outside to jump on the trampoline and play with his swing set.
But for all of his intelligence, Ebony still cannot interact appropriately with others. He has trouble processing the world around him. He has many sensory issues that prevent him enjoying the things that we all take for granted. There are three older children, two very athletic boys who play football and baseball ages 17 and 14 and a daughter who is a very talented gymnast and dancer and is 12 years old. While this is a terribly exciting time for us all as we see Ebony progress, it’s also a frustrating time.
We have learned that Autism is a complex brain disorder that often inhibits a person’s ability to communicate, respond to their surroundings or form relationships with others. Autism spectrum disorders affect people of all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds and occur in as many as one in 110 births, one in 70 boys, making it more common than paediatric cancer, diabetes, and AIDS combined. And the numbers are still rising!
Currently the cause of Autism is unknown. There are no one specific medical treatments or a cure for Autism. Ebony’s parents are doing everything possible to offer the most normal and functioning life and they work with a fantastic support system ensuring our little boss has a happy life. Ebony’s older sister is not afraid of what others think and she openly will explain to anyone, that her brother is not a brat but “an angel with Autism”.
This year, as a family, we made the decision to make every effort to increase Autism Awareness. For the first time, and certainly not the last, we walked in the Toronto, Walk Now for Autism as a family team and we put every effort into our fundraising. We held bake and candy sales, charity events, canvassing our neighbours and friends and the children did a remarkable job of getting others to join in.
From the moment we decided to participate, every step of the preparation and fund raising was such a special project for me and as a grandmother; it gave me a feeling of being able to help in a small way. I threw myself into contacting friends and co-workers making everyone aware of our goal and at every opportunity, I explained to people why this walk was so important.
Ebony is our special gift from God and he is teaching us all so very much! We know that there is more in that little brown head than meets the eye. His smile lights up a room, his giggles are infectious. Ebony is the most amazing little man we’ve ever known, and we rejoice in having each day with him.
By Maggie Irvine-Bowles
* Stories From the Heart is an ongoing series of user contributed heart warming stories, that shine light on the Autism and special needs experience.