Everyone experiences happiness and sorrow, anger, joy, fear, surprise, loneliness. Kids on the spectrum feel just as deeply, but they often sound different, have more issues with confidence, and they don’t know what comes after “hi,” making their ability to focus and succeed in social situations hard. With Marston, I’d start every morning believing today was the day he was going to look into my eyes and really want me. He’d reach for me, smile for the first time. Walk. He’d say, “Mama,” “Daddy,” or even “ball.” By 1998, when he turned three, I’d uttered that same old prayer a thousand times, and I was more determined than ever to shatter the glass wall that separated my son from the rest of the world. Autism wasn’t widely talked about back then, and Facebook (networking) didn’t exist. Eric and I were on our own. This memoir is our journey of educating Marston through programs like The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential, Vision Therapy, the Tomatis® Method, Marion Blank’s approach to reading, hypotherapy, balloon dancing, and the list goes on…until we discovered stem cell replacement therapy. Love, faith, hard work, and teamwork have taught Marston how to strike up a conversation beyond the word “hi,” and do so much more. The pain, obstacles, and victories over the last twenty-four years have brought us one step closer to Marston living a life of purpose with as much normalcy as possible. We’ve cracked the glass wall, but we believe STEM CELL REPLACEMENT THERAPY will ultimately shatter it. Now, it’s our job to share our story with the world because one win for autism is a victory for us all.
Excerpt from Chapter 6: "This Program Is No Joke" Marston’s brain wasn’t capable of processing how to create complete sentences. And, integrating the use of articles into his everyday vocabulary seemed like something he might never be able to do. If you’ve ever studied a foreign language over a long period of time and then gone to that country only to discover you can understand it but not speak it, you know what I mean. Marston was starting to understand language and communication, even though he couldn’t fold himself into individual or group discussions. He couldn’t read, either. I think he recognized the shape of certain words, but the letters themselves held no meaning. But the progress he’d made with gross motor skill development, sensory processing, focus, and comprehension was undeniable thanks to the IAHP (The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential).One night, about four years into this intensive program—I think it was around the time Marston was seven—I would see the results in action. We were praying in bed, like usual, when Marston asked God for Austin’s brain. He said it, of course, in his way, but I understood him perfectly. It was a dagger to my heart. I told him, “Your brain is perfect, sweetheart. God doesn’t make mistakes. Austin has these certain sets of talents—he’s a great communicator, math comes easy, he’s great at sports—but everyone is different, Marston. God made you sweet and gave you a beautiful smile. He knows what he’s doing, and we have to trust him.” Moving past the heartbreak, I realized this was a huge breakthrough. He recognized Austin’s unique abilities, and he was differentiating them from his own. This is comprehension.