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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Writer/Curator/Founder of The Autism Acceptance Project. Contributing Author to Between Interruptions: Thirty Women Tell the Truth About Motherhood, and Concepts of Normality by Wendy Lawson, and soon to be published Gravity Pulls You In. Writing my own book. Lecturer on autism and the media and parenting. Current graduate student Critical Disability Studies and most importantly, mother of Adam -- a new and emerging writer.

“There is no hope unmingled with fear, and no fear unmingled with hope.” -- Baruch Spinoza

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Happy Birthday Adam

It is Adam's 5th birthday today. We had a little party on Saturday and the parties will continue -- in our house they are nice quiet parties.

I am so proud of my little guy. He woke up all smiles, still cooing the way he did years ago. He is trying so hard to talk, but it's not really coming yet. I'm looking at Dynavox and other systems -- he sure likes the lightwriter we are playing with right now.

Problem is, here in Toronto, there is a wait list to get these devices because many "therapists" don't think they work for people with autism. At costs of $6,500-$10,000 Canadian, the average family can not afford to buy them. Bloorview Macmillan here in Toronto can "prescribe" them as they are the government's designated "prescriber." Yet, who can afford to wait two years, let alone swallow that price tag?!

Adam needs devices, computer programs and more. He needs these things to be subsidized and accepted in the classrooms. We need to press our government officials and make them understand what accomodation means.

Today, on his 5th birthday, I do not mourn the child I do not have, I celebrate the Adam I do have, to whom I responsible, and to whom I owe a great amount of fortitude and joy. His life is full of possibilities, and he will never disappoint me.


Blogger mcewen said...

Happy Birthday!

We too are fortunate enough to find the money for most of the things our boys need, but financial sacrifices are simply not possible for so many families, the money simply isn't there.

Best wishes

12:48 PM  
Blogger Patti said...

Happy Birthday to your wonderful little boy. :)

1:08 PM  
Blogger Jan B said...

Happy Birthday Adam!

I hope that you are able to get one of the Dynavox machines. We are currently borrowing the DV4 and looking at getting the DV 5 which is the new model. Fortunately the state will foot the bill for it. It is just a lot of paperwork to wade through.

In the US we have assistive technology lending libraries that allow us to borrow these items for up to 8 weeks for tryouts. We tried the lightwriter and the DV 3100, the lightwriter was ok, but a little advanced for Charlie. He loves the DV4 though.

I think that I should do shoot a little video of him with it and post it up on my blog.

2:02 PM  
Anonymous Kev_Leitch said...

Happy birthday Adam :o)

2:13 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

Happy, happy birthday Adam! :)

4:56 PM  
Blogger AnneC said...

I hope Adam had a good birthday!

Also, with respect to communication devices -- I am seriously curious about doing a bit of research into helping make more affordable devices available. I know it shouldn't matter how much something costs if someone needs it, but I just can't see what about the technology in those things could possibly be driving up the cost close to that of a small car. Wow. And though in the long term it would be best if all people who could benefit from such devices could get easy access to them, at present, the cost is probably very prohibitive for people who need communication assistance now (as you noted in your entry).

I've got TTS software on my laptop now and am going to try experimenting with hope is that in a few years, prices drop on small, portable computers to the point where that technology might be able to be put in a more robust (and less power-intensive) package, and it will at that point become much easier for a wider range of people to use TTS.

12:42 AM  
Blogger LAA and Family said...

Happy Birthday Adam!

My youngest boy's 5th birthday is next month. They're so much fun at this age!

Let's hope the day comes where financial help comes along that goes more directly to the families that need it, and doesn't get mired up in a bunch of bureaucracy and politics.

10:37 AM  
Blogger Peggy Lou Morgan said...

Happy Birthday Adam.

It is good that Adam is born in this time because there are so many more choices and "helps" than when my son was 5. However, when Adam is 24 like Billy Ray hopefully we will know even more how to help future children.

I am glad to hear your celebration of Adam. Reading it I was reminded of Jim Sinclair's "Don't Mourn for Me". Once we get past the child we didn't get and get to the beautiful snowflake we do have the real joy surfaces.

You are absolutely right about the possibilities for Adam and all of our kids whatever their situation.

Is he also an inspiring concert pianist? (Smile).

Best regards,

11:28 AM  
Blogger Mom26children said...

Happy Birthday Adam...5 is an important year.
Our 6 year old has been using a Vanguard system for 3 months now. He is beginning to make the word sounds. Very exciting.

9:46 AM  
Blogger Phil Schwarz said...

It's not a full substitute for a dedicated text-to-speech device like a Dynavox, but you might want to download Joel Smith's JTalk+ (see for Adam to experiment with.

7:42 PM  
Blogger bigwhitehat said...

Give the birthday hug from Texas.

I just found out about you and TAAP.

Even though I do not know you I must say I love what you do. I thank God for people like you.

I have an autism category on my blog. You can kind of see the natural progression I made. Since I made the move from despair to joy, I really appreciate the things you do.

12:10 AM  
Blogger annalaura said...

I was fortunate enough that my parents too found the money to pay for my extra needs but many are not so fortunate.

Raise Money here

1:34 PM  

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