Utah

Autism x 6: Family's kids all have the disorder

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  • Elizabeth H Rolla/Rolette, ND
    Dec. 12, 2012 10:00 p.m.

    Hello John and Robin,
    I just saw this article this week. I would love to talk. We too are a family of multiple autistic individuals. We have found help for our girls and want to offer you some help.
    Here is a recent story about our family. I have been locking for contact information but haven't found you yet.

    God Bless,

    Elizabeth H.

  • Jessica
    Oct. 2, 2009 8:15 a.m.

    I am a mother of a six year old autistic child. I am having a really hard time right now with him. I will pray for you guys cause I do not know how you guys do it with 6 autistic children.

  • jackie,uk
    Sept. 1, 2009 11:47 a.m.

    after seeing your programme i think myself lucky i live in england.the system here is far from perfect & what you get depends on where you live & sometimes how loud you shout.
    i have 3 asd kids,1 typical, 1 aspie & 1 hfa. my kids get specialised education. 2 are on aba programmes. special needs dentist & good healthcare. my severe son also gets respite care via social services.i don't have to worry about health insurance etc.its still hard dealing with all their problems.
    you live in the world's most wealthy country, yet seem to get so little help. there must be usa charities that will help sort out your house, give some respite etc.taking kids into care should be a last resort. helping you should come first.
    i agree with your outlook that you have asd kids & have to get on with life. make the most of it. we are probably happier than many families with normal kids.
    i don't actually believe in god, so don't hold him responsible. one day the government might tell the truth about why there are now so many asd kids.

  • Anonimous
    May 25, 2009 5:10 a.m.

    I think how much I struggle with two autistic brothers and then I think... they have 6! I think your approach to it is magnificent!

  • jeff
    April 8, 2009 8:04 p.m.

    i work with autisic
    clinets at work and thay amaze me so much to see that thay can do so good in a work setting I work with one clinet who lives on his own so John your doing a good job keep it up and always look to the lord for help


    your friend in christ jeff

  • Nancyt
    March 7, 2009 12:19 p.m.

    I just saw your program. I am the mother of one, and grandmother of 3 , healthy all. You are amazing people, an example for society to follow. The world is a better place because you people are in it!(and all those that help) I found myself crying with relief, the B'party was a sucess! You and your children have a really important mission. Thank you so much, for your courage, and tremendous love!

  • Teresa in WI
    Feb. 7, 2009 3:38 p.m.

    I have 4 kids, 2 with autism. Caleb is 9 and Gabe is 7. I've read your blog for quite a while, and followed your story. Good Luck and Good Job!

  • Becky Mitchell
    Oct. 14, 2008 12:50 a.m.

    I saw the special on Discovery Health. I have a son with Asperger's and worked several years with behavior modification in non verbal children. I had a problem with labeling the cognitive skills of a the non verbal children as that of infants. It seeamed so hopeless. Of course they score so low on those cognitive test, they are non vebal. Don't short change those kids and write them off as never being able to do anything, ie potty training. Have the Kirtons tried sign language or other gestures for comunication. Also, the special showed they were at an autism school. How much time do these kids spend with children who are typically developing. The special seemed very depressing and I wanted to fly to Utah and help that poor mother.

  • Patty
    Oct. 2, 2008 12:58 a.m.

    I just watched the show on Discovery Health and I APPLAUD both of you! My daughter was Dx'd at age 7 with Asperger's. She is now 13. She is High Functioning and has social issues (which, are getting BETTER) and has NO organizational skills and has a problem keeping her room/things tidy (typical teenager too!). We just MOVED from Utah and I wish I would have read this story beforehand as I'd love to have met/help you. Unfortunately, INSURANCE companies will NOT pay for Speech Therapy (cognitive and speech therapy) UNLESS needed due to an illness or injury. I worked at a hospital in the Speech & Hearing department and I was heartbroken when I called insurance companies to seek "therapy" for children with Autism and they were DENIED constantly. They wouldn't even cover the initial evaluation! I would love to have my daughter get in touch with your sweet girl as she also loves to draw and read! My daughter was so excited when she heard this on the show! I'll continue to watch the show and keep up the FANTASTIC work and I, too love your wit and compassion you have!

  • kathy mother of 3
    Sept. 11, 2008 4:40 p.m.

    Im the single mother of 3...my youngest 14 is diagnosed pdd nos back in 97...I wished there was as much info then as there is now...HES non verbal...non listening...

  • PhillipP
    Sept. 1, 2008 12:28 p.m.

    I have had been major difficulty of being more sociable and verbal with others since childhood. Constantly I bahave bizare and I am unable to be honest enough to tell the entire Difficulty with overall oraganization and planning I ramble from one activities and tasks to another especially in conversations. My mother still has be with my case at all times to be corrected with reminders I am more competent enough to handle them for myself, it is indicate signal as being immature.

  • Becky
    July 23, 2008 4:22 p.m.

    I read your story with great interest. I realize it has been a year since this story was published, but felt compelled to submit a comment. I admire your determination to find a way to live with a difficult situation. My 19y.o. daughter has mild Autism (Asperger's) now, but she was much more severe when she was younger. Dealing with Autism can be exhausting on so many levels. I hope by now your community has stepped in to help. If not, here are a few suggestions: Ask your local college for medical, psychology or child-care students needing 'in-feild credits' to come work with your kids . Usually, they will do this free. If Utah has few services to help you, I know that North Carolina has a system in place for helping kids with Autism. They call it TEACCH (www.teacch.com) It is worth checking out. Here are a few of the credible medical interventions that I know can help with the hyperactivity, hyperacute hearing and light sensitivity: www.danconference.com (a nation-wide network of Drs that specialize in working with the autistic) and www.autism.com (The Autism Research Institute). You may conact me via email if you wish. God Bless!

  • Danni
    June 9, 2008 11:10 p.m.

    God Bless you all.. i bet your all wonderful parents,
    well i have anaphalaxtis which is one of the most life threatning things.
    put me into hospital on many occasions. then i took to many drugs for it which has made me liver and kidneys not mune to it anymore.

  • Judy
    May 31, 2008 4:42 p.m.

    After seeing their house on their blog I would say the place looks like a fire hazard! Do these children receive intensive ABA or do they just let them destroy everything? Get some decent intervention for the kids and get out of Utah. What a backwards state when it comes to autism!

  • Sharon
    May 30, 2008 7:06 p.m.

    I have a son who has Asperger's and when he was younger it was very difficult because I didn't know he had Asperger's until he was older. The good news is as he gets older it does get easier.
    God bless you and your family. I can't even imagine how hard it would be with six children. I give you and your wife a lot of credit.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  • Donna
    March 29, 2008 8:16 p.m.

    I work as a Community Disability Worker in Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada and have had the opportunity to work with some amazing people some of them Autistic. I have learned so much from them and my hope is that people do not pass judgement so quickly. If you are interested do a search on the computer and look up the Robinhood Association in Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada. It is one of the most amazing places for disabled people to learn skills to work out in the community, do leasure activities in the community and go and have fun and laughter. I consider myself one of the luckiest people to have the clients in my life. Please keep ut the good work.Your whole family is amazing and just remenber that there are some very nasty people who dont get it.They always have a opinion weather they know anything or not. I give you so much credit for what you do. Please stay health and happy

  • Nikki
    March 27, 2008 10:53 a.m.

    I know someone with 9 autistic kids and she's a single mom. I'm a single mom with 2 disabled kids, although one has Tourettes and other disorders, not autism. It's difficult!

  • maryjane
    Feb. 10, 2008 12:20 a.m.

    After having read the article about your family in "WHO" magazine in Australia, which is the equivalent of "PEOPLE" magazine in the USA. May God bless you a thousand times over. If more people in the world had the compassion and love that your family has,the world would be a better place. I find it distressing that people could be so negative and have no sense of community..maybe this is why the world has lost its sense of compassion and is so focused on selfishness. I wish you all the goodness in the world and God Bless

  • Danette
    Feb. 8, 2008 8:12 a.m.

    I have several friends with children that are autistic. They have been able to decrease and eliminate some of the symptoms of autism by using a nutritional cleanse. If you would like more information you can email me. I know that parents of autistic children will be extremely blessed for caring for these incredible children. May the Lord bless you.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 7, 2008 8:18 a.m.

    God bless you. You sound like wonderful parents for these special kids. As a parent of identical twins with autism, age 34, and still living at home with us I can only imagine the stress you have but also the wonderful rewards of loving these great people.
    I know what you mean by mean people, people who think they know more than you do about what is good for your kids. Fortunately we have had many good people in our lives to negate the mean ones. It is a shame people are not more tolerant and appreciate our kids. It would indeed be a sad, sad world if everyone born into it were the same - how boring.
    Love and prayers to both of you.
    Phyllis

  • sidney
    Feb. 7, 2008 4:21 a.m.

    God Blesss you all!! I have a son with autism. He is very loving, handsome, and social. He is also nonverbal and recently began to get really violent. I choose to start him on Risperidal and it is working in regards to violent outbursts and his ability to tolerate frustration (it took me two years to make this decision)---his father sees him but is not really involved with everything we go through to get services and day to day living, nor much financial support and next to no emotional support). So we are on our own, him and I, and do not really have family support either, our friends have become our family through the years and have been the ones that have helped out through the ups and downs, especially my two friends Wendy and Jerod. And his teacher and aids have been angels!

    I am a single parent and feel so overwhelmed at times, I feel God gave me more than I can handle. Sometimes at a breaking point. I just don't know how you all do it.

    My prayers will be with you always. Please feel free to email anytime. Love to your family:)

  • Mary
    Feb. 7, 2008 4:17 a.m.

    Some say my son may have been diagnosed with Autism if I had got him checked sooner. I waited and put off even though we had early childcare issues and any structured setting such as daycare facilities could not handle my son. My son was finally tested by the local school system and the area children's hospital around the age of 5 1/2 with both stating Asperger's. I know that some hate to put a label on their child but our lives became much more easier with the help of our school system, iep's and understanding teachers. It's true that there is so much more literature out there now but there is still much to learn and insurance companies need to start paying for some of the treatments that do seem to be helpful but are not classified as "medical" or "necessary".

  • BrianneC
    Feb. 7, 2008 1:01 a.m.

    I want to tell you how much respect I have for you. I have 3 special needs children 1 is autistic and the other two have a genetic syndrome. I wish that I had some parents that I could relate to and I would love someone to just talk to. Not all parents understand what goes on on a daily basis..or an hourly basis. I too have baricades and locks all over my house...as well as plenty of walls that could use a good coat of paint!!! My ultimate opinion is I feel that I will end up learning more from my special children than I would be able to offer them. Hold on tight to all of your "Autistic Angels" and smile. I know that I do every day and I thank god for giving my the BEST opportunity that I could ever imagine having as a parent. God does not make mistakes everything happens for a reason. For anyone doubting an autistic child being a gift from god needs to read "Autism and the God Connection" I believe that our children are much closer spiritually to god than most realize. God bless you. Keep the faith.

  • Annonymous
    Feb. 6, 2008 10:23 p.m.

    Greetings.

    As a Higher Functioning Autistic, I personally do not think autism is "devastating". I'm not a parent and I know it was stressful on my mom (who was a single parent while I was growing up). Yes, I definitely think there should be more emphasis on awareness, but pointing out the fact that autism as non-curable or non-treatable will only give people the wrong impression. I am all ready having enough difficulty holding a job - and I will graduate with my Master in Library Science in May - due to my anxiety issues (associated with my autism and auditory processing disorder). I attribute the fact that I am higher functioning due to my mom's sense of humor, use of sarcasm, and the fact that she raised me with lots of structure and life skills from the get-go. I mean no offense. However, the use of autism in any proiximity to the word devastation (or any other similar words) is an insult to me, as an autistic. Yes, my life is difficult and not status quo, but it is not devastating. As Whoopi Goldberg says "Normal is nothing more than a cycle on a washing machine". Thank you.

  • Avatai
    Feb. 6, 2008 10:20 p.m.

    Will remember you when in my prayers.

  • MoJules
    Feb. 6, 2008 9:51 p.m.

    Wow!!! Bless you guys for what you are doing and the efforts you make and most of all your humor. I had a husband die when he was 37, we knew that he would be dying from a disease in the MDA family, we had to do a lot of laughing. When my present husband told me, while we were dating that he had a form of Muscular Dystrophy, I started to laugh, I have about 6 very close friends with diseases, MS, Chrons, Lupus and such. I care for my mother in law who also has the same disease that my husband has. People joke with me and say they better not get close to me, cause they will either die or get a disease. I truly believe that we came here with distinct dispositions and mine was the elderly and disabled, I taught seven people on my mission with different disabilities and have been helping and caring for them for 30 years now. This couple seems to have the disposition of caring and raising these six children with their individual needs, bless you for that, I did just fine with my only child who was very mild.

  • ChristinaK
    Feb. 6, 2008 9:09 p.m.

    Let us not be so judgemental of each other. None
    of knows what kind of life that fate has in store for us. Things will get better; the children will have their successes, just never give up hope.

    God bless you for loving your children.

  • Jimmie Lou Strange
    Feb. 6, 2008 9:10 p.m.

    I have a 19 year old boy with asperger. I wouldn`t trade a minute of our time with jeff. he`s so precious and a gift from God. It`s so hard for him to fit in. It`s harder on us maybe, we do all the worrying and praying. We`re older and he is adopted grandson. My heart has been broken over and over, people don`t understand and family is worse. They think we can do something about it. But it is all in God`s hand. God bless you all. Hang in there. It`s all worth it. When you look at that precious face and wonder where would they be if you were not there. God trusts you with those babies and he chose you. not just any one YOU. Just praise him and thank him for all your blessings. Amen. Thank you guys for being out there. You will help others I`m sure.

  • Laurie-Kay
    Feb. 6, 2008 8:57 p.m.

    Dear Kirtans,
    Thank you for sharing your family with ABC. To find your family story while trying to find a job, check on the winter storms; I was overjoyed to hear that a family with more roadblocks than dirty dishes, no car or job made a signal, widowed mother of two beautiful healthy children that just pulled her groceries home from the local mart on a childs sled look like she is doing alright, too. Almost, eight years later, we are still healthy and strong even if we are with out the luxuries of a car or job for now. You are doing a fine job! I guess the struggles I go through by myself with my 2 compared to you-two with your 6 I am at least a C to your familys A- The only thing that holds both our families back is WorldsBiggestBankAccount. Money doesnt solve every thing it does make it a bit easier to swallow. Thank you for being such great parents, truly!

  • Sympathtic Reader
    Feb. 6, 2008 9:00 p.m.

    I find your story inspiring. It gives many other parents hope and perspective when they are going through their tough times. Some people just do not understand how each and every child is special in their own way. Your children are very special. I wish your family the best and may God Bless all of you. I look forward to hearing how things are going in the future.

  • senbonzakurah
    Feb. 6, 2008 8:57 p.m.

    Don't judge. I have 1 asperger's kid, 1 bsehavioral disorder and one pdd baby. Aspergers is more prevalent that people realize and tends to affect boys more than girls. Before Asperger's was generally diagnosed these people where thought to be absentminded professors with poor social skills. If you have an aspergers kid. Check out your cousins and uncles. They probably act the same way. I know mine do.

    Good luck.

    Ignore the haters. There is no way on earth that you could have known your kids would be that way. you have to be their advocate and fight for their rights thats what I do.

    Keep on going!

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 6, 2008 8:46 p.m.

    I cannot beli

  • Grandma C
    Feb. 6, 2008 8:03 p.m.

    To parents and other family members of children with special needs:
    1. Know your rights. Look up the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), federal legislation which requires that states provide services for children with special education needs.
    2. Find the resources you need. Contact the state department of education, the closest children's hospital, the local school district, county or city social services agencies, respite care services, the nearest LDS church, parent support groups, mental health facilities, etc. Ask for help and for referrals to other sources of assistance.
    3. Advocate for your precious child. No doctor or other professional knows your young one better than you. Persist until you get what you know is best.
    4. Beware of charlatans offering miracle cures and asking for large sums of money. Your money will go away ... your child's problems will remain.
    5. Seek advice and comfort from others who know the challenges you face, especially other parents such as those who have shared their stories here.
    6. Love, appreciate, and support your spouse. Give one another some needed "time off" on a regular basis.
    7. Strengthen yourself spiritually, regardless of your faith. You are a child of God.

  • Special Ed. Teacher
    Feb. 6, 2008 7:17 p.m.

    Bless you, Angie Welling, for an excellent article ... including the necessary facts and a look at the reality of living with autism spectrum disorder.
    For nearly thirty years, I have been fascinated with children who have autism. As a latter-day saint, I believe these children are special spirits. They have been sheltered from the evils of the world and will not be held accountable for their actions. My heart aches for the dedicated parents who have been treated with cruelty rather than compassion by the Utah State Health Department. It seems that agency was quick to judge but offered no desperately needed services.
    I pray for this family and invite the parents to seek the help they - and the children - need. Other states offer more services. Check out Wisconsin, one of the first states in the U.S. to pass legislation giving specific rights to parents and students when special needs are suspected (1973).
    Thank you, Deseret News, for enlightening the public. You have blessed many this day.

  • dee
    Feb. 6, 2008 7:05 p.m.

    children are blessings from God. You were given such special blessings because He knows that you are up to the challenge...Just do not forget to look up not down when the going gets tough.


  • dontagree
    Feb. 6, 2008 6:38 p.m.

    Funny how everyone I know that have children with autism, pretty much let the television raise their children. Even in one case the child was diagnosed, and 3 yrs later after having no tv, and more attention she was given a clean bill of health with no autism. I do believe some children are born with it, but there are others that are raised by the tv with no actual human contact other than bath, diapers and feeding. Then they are diagnosed and the parents are all "Why do we have a child with autism, what did we ever do". A lot of people need to realize the tv is not a baby sitter or a nanny. If you plan on someone else, or something else raising your kids than maybe you shouldn't be having any. A 2 month old that cries when blues clues is turned off and stops when turned back on, that is absolutely ridiculous and uncalled for. I've seen it myself.

  • karilyn
    Feb. 6, 2008 6:41 p.m.

    I have three children on the spectrum, 16,14,13, the two oldest are boys the youngest a girl. the oldest boy has bipolar disorder that is controlled with medication. the 14 year old will go and just read or be on the computer all day if he was allowed. my daughter is much like Mary she gets on one subject and you are stuck listening, she has meltdowns and tantrums several times a day. All my children attend regular education classes they have a tough time keeping up with homework, bringing it home and then doing it. We have tried many things and what has worked best is giving them as much structure/routine as possible. We have always taken them out in public to the store for groceries, haircuts,clothes shopping,restraunts, they must know how to interact with the public. Our marraige has taken a huge strain, we don't always see eye to eye on how to handle things, but we have our blow ups,and then we go on. we do believe God allows parents to have children that may need more help, but he will NEVER leave you stranded, he is always by your side,waiting. Keep up the good work !

  • YO Dog
    Feb. 6, 2008 5:18 p.m.

    You guys should just drop them off at an orphanage wen there diagnosed god.

  • Mary
    Feb. 6, 2008 5:13 p.m.

    I'm glad I read the entire article because you stated some very important things in the 2nd to last paragraph. I too have always felt that it would have been too easy for me to have a "normal" child. I also believe God threw me a cure ball and gave me a little extra to deal with. I didn't have children for 13 years of my marriage and was jealous of those that did. I thought that I could be a better parent that anyone I knew. We finally adopted a beautiful baby boy. Although I divorced before my son started showing severe signs of anything, my husband would not have been able to handle the day to day with an "un-normal" child. He still doesn't know really how to deal with him now that he's 14 and acts more like he wants to fit in. Jan's statements above about people asking her why she doesn't give the child back also struck me because after reading alot on adoption, there really are people who do that...and they even have a name for it. I could never do that. I waited to long for this child and love him so much.

  • Debbie
    Feb. 6, 2008 4:46 p.m.

    I have a child with aspergers and I really can relate> He was 12 before we knew. I just want to let you know that it does get a little easier as years go by. My son is now in eighth grade and with medication and support He is now Starting to do much better. He also is making honor role.Just stay on top and read a lot about the different help that you can get. There is a lot of free help out there for you.

  • Linda
    Feb. 6, 2008 4:39 p.m.

    I have 8 grandchildren. My son has 3 children that are not autistic, my daughter has 5 children with 2 that are autistic, I love them all, but the 2 that are mildly autistic I love them too much, where I just want to baby them, they are 11 and 10 years old respectfully, only my daughter just only had the 2 oldest diagnosed, but being a concerned grandparent I've noticed the 3rd child who is going to be 6 years old was little slow in verbalizing, you couldn't understand one word he said. My daughter works in the evening, to get out of the house, but I feel she needs some intervention with the first 2, possibly the 3rd one also. The last 2 are paternal twins, boy and girl, which they are just fine, just a little hyper.

  • Mary
    Feb. 6, 2008 4:31 p.m.


    I have two boys. They are ages 14 and 8 and both are on the spectrum. I know what life is like for these parents. I understand the frustrations and the pain. I also turn to humor to get through my day. You have to. My prayers are with you and your family. Embrace each one, they are unique and God has entrusted you to take care of these special ones. I do feel that God hand picks us to deliver these special ones to.

    God Bless You and Yours,
    Mary

  • Lucia
    Feb. 6, 2008 4:25 p.m.

    Your article just reminded me how tired tired could be and I only had one severly and profoundly handicapped child. My friends the Breedings had a very large family of very special children. I never understood how they managed but they learned a lesson early which took me more years to learn. The lesson that the greatest gift you can give to a friend is to let him minister to you in HIS name. I agree with the others above. Let your ward or stake into your lives and bless them with the gift of the Lord's work. I am not LDS but I have been aided by contacts with church members through the Air Force. I'll never forget Amy and Dawn and Lu. They stepped in and started the lesson, it took growing in my faith to understand and accept it.

  • Mariposa
    Feb. 6, 2008 4:05 p.m.

    Dear Robin,

    I bristled when I read your comment about God knowing you were up to the challenge so He gave you 6 autistic kids. I believe with all my heart that our Loving Father blessed you with wonderful coping skills and that He supports and guides you on a very difficult journey, but did God CAUSE these beautiful kids to be autistic? Absolutely not! No loving human father would do that, so I cannot/will not believe that God our Loving Father would do what no human father would?

    Mariposa

  • rob frederick
    Feb. 6, 2008 4:08 p.m.

    bless you both in your endeavors. I do believe God does place challenges on a select few, for whatever reason.....who knows? but i pray it is for your continued and ever growing strength. you are an inspiration to us all. peace, rob

  • Judy
    Feb. 6, 2008 4:01 p.m.

    Regardless of what anyone on the outside may say I think you are proof beautiful people do exist. Your children are blest. I have 9 children and 5 have mental illness. It takes special with great skills, alot of love and faith to hang in there. You have my prayers. Those kids are worth our time. They are our most valuable assets in the world.

  • Frann
    Feb. 6, 2008 3:21 p.m.

    My grandson has autism. He is a twin and his brother does'nt have autism.
    He lives in Florida and is getting a lot of help being that there are many special schools and programs and he's made some progress..

    God Bless You and Yours!!

  • sharon
    Feb. 6, 2008 3:16 p.m.

    Hi,I have a 15 year old,we found out when she was 2,it was not easy for me with one,i take my hat off to you & your husband keep up the good work & continue to love each other & pray.

  • Angela
    Feb. 6, 2008 2:58 p.m.

    My daughter is high functioning on the spectrum, and we love her so much, but sometimes I worry so much about her and her future. I understand why you said the thing you did and understand that you didn't mean it. There is a natural grieving process that occurs. Please know that it gets better. God bless you and your children.

  • Jan
    Feb. 6, 2008 2:40 p.m.

    We have a 34 year old daughter with Autism. Not as much help was available when she was diagnosed with Autism. We didn't even know what it was but we soon learned. We love her dearly.She loves Alf and we enjoy getting thing with Alf on them and she collects other things. She still can't carry on a regular conversation but gets her point across and is very quick and smart. We adopted her at 5 weeks and didn't know she had Autism. People have said why didn't you give her back, we love her. She is not a used car to trade in !!! She is very special in her own way and we feel God made sure of all the adoptive couples to chose us.

  • Donna Rae
    Feb. 5, 2008 4:57 p.m.

    Wow! I keep saying that, and said it many times while reading your story. Our family has 6 people, and one PDD. Our son's been bounced all over the spectrum, we don't know where he falls. We've moved so we could get better jobs, and health insurance, and found out some states don't have a way to help family's with austistics. Or what they do have is so limited and expensive that I try not to think about it or I'll cry. It's actually been daily therapy I've adapted that's moved our son out of tantrums. Although we do have make-shift barracades around our home.
    It amazes me that 90% of the people I talk to have never heard of this disorder. I say he's a little like 'Rain Man' and the most challenging thing ever put on my plate. People have asked why I chose to have 3 more kids. Well I didn't choose God did, and I wouldn't have laughter without my children. We will keep our hope for all of us 'parents of autism' will pave the way for those without a path. 'Do your best with the information wisdom and energy you have at the time'

  • Cynthia
    Jan. 31, 2008 11:52 a.m.

    I find your family remarkable and your humor necessary to endure what you do day-in and day- out! Too bad many people in "human services" roles cannot react to humorous sarcasm with that understanding. To be forced into humility is often difficult in the process, but so beneficial in the long run. It seems you've weathered the worst well. Be proud of yourselves.
    My daughter was tested for autism when she was 3, and was found to have speech development delays as her primary issue. She has been receiving some form of speech therapy since she was 2 and receives it still as a 5 year old. She also needed some moderate physical therapy but has "graduated" out of that program. There never is a good time to hear that your child or children aren't perfect. But the amount of support out there is amazing when you really need it.

    Keep up the good fight and never allow yourselves to lose that killer wit and humor. Some people may not get your sense of humor - but there are plenty of those out there that do!

  • Lisa
    Jan. 31, 2008 11:42 a.m.

    I agree with Barbara that perhaps there is something that your ward or stake could do to make the burden lighter. Your family situation certainly needs some compassionate service. Have you considered talking with your bishopric to see if teams of ward members (or possibly stake members, since you're in Utah where boundaries are small and your problem is overwhelming) would be willing to give the two of you an occasional night out or some in-home assistance with the children? Young Women also occasionally have service projects, and they should also be considered as possible helpers. Also, you might want to check with BYU and University of Utah psychiatry departments to see if you could get any of their students into your home as interns. Good luck, and God bless you.

  • me
    Jan. 30, 2008 9:08 a.m.

    My heart goes out to you I am the step-parent to an autistic child and I know how hard and draining that it is. Most children are diagnosed at approx 24 to 36 months, why wait till 5th grade to look into this. And I don't understand why they would look at your husbands age b/c he was 40 yrs old when your first child from a previous relationship also has autism??? I have heard one of the myths being said that autism has to do with the vaccines, have all your children gotten there vaccines? that this may have a play in it?

  • Andrea
    Jan. 29, 2008 11:54 p.m.

    I am a mother of 10 yr old That is High functioning and he is a hand full I admire you very much It takes alot just to raise one but you have six I would like to say God Bless you and your family and remember your have six special gifts from God to make you smile!

  • Barbara
    Jan. 28, 2008 11:31 p.m.

    What is the State of Utah and City and County and the LDS Church doing to help you? You so desperatly need all the help you can get. Would your Church send volunteers into your home each day to help you? You need better housing,etc. You need help with the children and money to buy them diapers and things they need. Is there a national Autistic Agency that could provide help?If only I had money or lived neary I would help you so gladly.

  • Olivia
    Jan. 28, 2008 8:31 p.m.

    I also have a 3 yr. old son with PDD/NOS and he is a hand full and I admire you 100 percent because it takes alote to rise one and you guys have six may god bless you and your family.

  • Anonymous
    Nov. 26, 2007 7:45 a.m.

    I have 4 kids, 3 are on the spectrum. Like yourselves we participate in genetic studies as my sister also has an autistic child, my mother has Aspergers and also my cousin.
    It can be hard for people who don't understand Austism that your life is no longer 'normal'. For us there is no supermarket visits or eating out. No fairs or playgrounds as these are all extremely stressful for not only us and our children but for the people around us.
    You have my greatest admiration for just being able to survive day to day with a sense of humour.
    Wishing you all the best.

  • Can I Help?
    Nov. 12, 2007 10:17 a.m.

    My non profit organization, the Autism Spectrum ALternative Program, www.asapranch.org, would like to help your family. I have several ideas depending on your location. My program is an equine facilitated sensory integrtion program for families with children on the spectrum. We are in Arizona. I would like to offer riding sessions for ALL of your children, we have a non profit store, Gallery of Odds & Ends where we resale items, and Mission Fish which is the eBay of the non profit world where anyone can sell anything to benefit their organization/families. I would like to explore these and other ideas if you are interested, please contact me.

  • haydee
    Nov. 11, 2007 7:50 p.m.

    i have a daughter who is diagnosed pdd at the age of 2, she is now 5, still improving. In your case, i sincerely hope and pray that everything will be fine in God's will and time. I hope that God will show us the path into the wellness of our child/children. At first, when i found out that my daughter has pdd, i really questioned Him, why my child, i was really devastated, i cant work, i cant sleep, cant think straight. Even to the point that it put a strain to my relationship with my husband. But still God in His numerous ways will try to show us that He is the Almighty God and is IN CONTROL of everything. I didnt say that everything is fine already, we must learn to trust God. God Bless You and Your Precious Children.

  • zoemorris@verizon.net
    Sept. 8, 2007 11:16 p.m.

    Hi Robin and John,

    I have a niece that was diagnosed at Age 3. I am a nurse and I questioned her difficulty with communication and we decided to look into the reasons for this difficulty. Autism was the diagnosis. Due to her early "extra help" she is doing extremely well. She is now 12 years old and is high functioning. I know her parents went through some challenging times but nothing could compare with your challenges. My heart goes out to you as I sit here with both my children off to college and I just want to offer any possible help I can. I would love to have a card designed for you and we will go from there. I truly do believe in the SOC Message and the Carding for a Cure could benefit so many great causes. You will be in my thoughts and prayers and I believe that you must be the best possible parents as God has entrusted them to you. God Bless you Both and your Wonderful Children.

  • John Kirton
    Sept. 3, 2007 7:47 p.m.

    Thanks Sarah for your kind comments. We are better people with all we've been through.

  • sarah
    Aug. 14, 2007 12:38 p.m.

    I have an autisic little girl she is 8 years old ,and a girl of 5 who is not autisic.
    Life can be so challenging when you have a child with autism and can put a great strain on your relationship.(it did with mine)You seem to go through an emotional rollercoaster and still now you have days when you feel you cant cope,but as parents and human beings this is a natural emotion.
    I really take my hat of to you both it must be extremely difficult .
    I agree although difficult it has made me a better person ,and whilst challenging so inspiring.
    I wish you all the happiness for the future and i will be thinking of your family.