Our son Korban is five years old. He was diagnosed with autism at the age of three, but we knew long before we got the official diagnosis. He has worked very hard in therapy and in school and we are happy to say he has made a lot of progress. Autism is a hard road to walk, but hard doesn't have to mean bad. He still struggles in many areas, but he has come such a long way. He is funny, sweet and loving. He enjoys going places, especially the aquarium or the zoo. He loves being outside, he loves school and our church. He is our precious boy and we thank God for him! We as his parents have strong faith in our God and that is why we chose his name from Mark 7:11 (that is, a gift devoted to God). We love this picture because we think it represents our son and his struggle with autism really well. It's as if there are two sides to him. One side loves being friendly and affectionate, which the other side is easily overwhelmed and agitated. With his sensory system being so very heightened he seems to be so aware and overwhelmed with so many things all around him, but so unaware of his self that he is unable so often to express how he feels. He loves people but has trouble knowing how to relate to them. Many times it seems that he is outside looking in, as the old saying goes. On one of our weekend family trips we went to the aquarium where Korban loves, has enjoyed and has been several times before. He had been talking about the trip and the aquarium for a while but the morning that we arrived at the aquarium Korban was replaced by autism that seemed to take him over and lock him inside himself. He took no interest in any of the sites we saw and would only look away from everything and it broke our hearts as his parents. So we tugged on our faith and went to God, then showed our patience with him by taking a timeout and regrouping. After being refocused we took another shot at the aquarium. That very same afternoon Korban showed back up and was truly able to enjoy the sites and of course his favorite the stingray. Things are not always great but when you see that light shine through and he gets it and progress is made that is when the rejoicing happens even with the smallest of successes. Korban lights up a room with his smile that everybody remembers and can't get over him. He is our superstar and our motivation to do better, to be better. We trust he has a bright future and we know he has our unconditional love and support.
Brad and Melissa, parents of Korban