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2016 Photographer Index

2016-miller-marissa 2016-oryl-chris

Magdalena Oryl
Magdalena Oryl Photography


I always warn anyone who is about to meet Alex that they will fall absolutely head over heels in love with him - and I've not been wrong yet. He is charming, unique, funny and sweet. He's complicated in that he doesn't speak, but somehow he always let's us know exactly what he wants. He's sweet in the fact that he flirts relentlessly for food. He'll cuddle up to the biggest, burliest men in the room and make their heart melt. He thinks it's fun to come into my room at 3am after he's made himself a feast of whatever he can find and then have a dance party. He has a special bond with his twin sister that makes him light up when she walks in the room. Life with Alex can be absolutely wonderful and hilarious. 

But, it's also heartbreaking. He is self-injurious. He can be aggressive. He goes for stretches where he won't sleep night after night. He has trouble expressing his feelings without hurting himself. It's overwhelming and heart-wrenching to watch him go through this pain. 

Almost 2 years ago, we had to admit Alex into a behavioral hospital and 6 months later, he was accepted into a group home for kiddos with severe autism. We just completed the process of transferring him to a new home after a not-so-great school environment at the first one. It's a never ending battle. We are starting from scratch all over again - just to get him the care he so very much deserves. 

I find myself advising many families on resources, as the information is very hard to come by. I wouldn't wish this experience of having to put your loved one in a group home on ANYONE, but for those that face it, the last thing they need is to be searching for resources and answers under all of that stress. 

We've already seen a difference since Alex has joined his new home. I'm so thankful and hopeful for his future. 

I hope our story can help others out there!

Jennifer, mother of Alex
rg, IL