The realities of life for severely autistic children and their families were well and accurately portrayed in the Autism Every Day video and in the excellent Faces of Autism series in the Vancouver Sun. And the attached link and excerpts from The biggest frustration is you don't know in The Roanoke Times, Roanoke.com, August 13, 2007, also provides a realistic portrayal of life for, and with, a more severely autistic child. It is the story of Nicholas Crouch-Hullender a non-verbal 8 year old autistic boy.
A few months later, when Nicholas turned 2, he was officially diagnosed. Crouch-Hullender had an answer to her son's unusual behavior.
And that's when her questions really began. Would Nicholas ever talk? Could he ever live by himself? What teaching method or special diet would be best?
Years later, Crouch-Hullender is still wrestling with such questions about her son, who is now 8 and can say just two words, "hi" and "bye," though he can type his name and can use sign language to say "I love you" to his family....
Nicholas tends to pinch when he gets mad. A naturally fair-skinned redhead, Crouch-Hullender now frequents a tanning salon so that bruises from where her son has grabbed her won't show as much.
Nicholas is among the roughly 40 percent of children with autism who do not speak. Many children with autism are also mentally impaired, but to what degree can be tough to tell because of their severe communication barriers.
Crouch-Hullender said her son is "very intellectual" in some regards but still struggles with some tasks a kindergartner could do.
When Nicholas was 5, doctors told Crouch-Hullender her son could never get by on his own, but she holds out hope that he will inherit her house one day and be able to live at least somewhat independently.