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2014 Photographer Index

2014_parkkonen_seamus 2013_peterson_ryan

John Parli
John Parli Photography


I have always said to trust your mother’s intuition. It has always steered me in the right direction when it comes to my kids. My intuition told me that something was not right for Gavin when he was 18 months old.

While vacationing at Hilton Head waiting to be seated for dinner, Gavin absolutely could not wait. I brought him to the bathroom and tried to entertain him to help pass the time. I knew that dinner would not work out. I told my husband that we had to leave. We made it to the car and I started to cry. I knew that this was more than the typical behavior of a toddler. I had asked my doctor about his speech and was given the typical “He is a boy, he is the youngest, and people tend to get him things without him having to ask.”

I decided to have him evaluated by Early Intervention. He qualified for Speech and Occupational Therapy. One of my best friends recommended getting him a Medical Diagnostic screening. I knew prior to our appointment that Gavin had Asperger’s. Talk about mother’s intuition…on April 5, 2011 Gavin was diagnosed with Asperger’s.

I grieved for a few days but knew that I needed to pick myself up and start helping my son. I immediately started researching the best options for Gavin. We saw immediate results with the gluten and casein free diet. As soon as we started the diet, he was potty trained. We jumped in with both feet when it came to therapies. He was in speech therapy both at home and at school, occupational therapy at school and at home, social skills group, developmental therapy and ABA therapy. Gavin
participated in therapeutic horseback riding, special recreation swimming, and tumbling. Gavin played baseball and soccer with his typical peers when he was four. He continues to progress and no longer qualifies for an IEP. The only therapies that Gavin still receives are speech at home and ABA therapy.

Gavin loves watching his iPad and playing Wii U. His favorite videos to watch on YouTube involve individuals reviewing toys or games and Evan tube. He has the best sense of humor and makes our family laugh all of the time. He is truly the light in our lives and teaches us daily to live life to the fullest.

Son of Angela and Eric McCollumSibling of Riviera and Zoë
Joliet, IL