CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Sometime a month will represent something – April is Autism Acceptance Month – but everyone talks about it on Day One and then you never hear about it again.
So, I intentionally waited two weeks to introduce Colby Price.
He is 5-years old, lives in Lawndale, and if you saw him, you wouldn’t think anything except what a stunningly adorable child.
But Colby lives with autism.
His journey began at 18-months old.
One month after his 1st birthday, his mom says there were small regressions. He lost words, lost eye contact, and not longer interacted with his older two sisters.
“Luckily a friend of mine had gone through her own autism journey with her son,” mom Emily Price said. “She pointed out some warning signs and by 15-months-old, he was seen at the Olsen Huff Center in Asheville and diagnosed with high functioning autism.”
Even though Emily says she knew what was coming, the diagnosis hit hard.
“An overflow of questions stormed my mind,” she said. “Will he talk? Will he make friends? Will he go to school like typical kids? Will he play sports. Will he ever say, ‘Mama’?”
Colby soon got what’s referred to as a “play therapist,” (that’s an in-home therapist who comes to the house to interact with a child).
Since then he has also had speech and occupational therapy, ABA therapy (applied behavior analysis), sees a therapist in Lincolnton, as well as a speech therapist and EC teacher at the elementary school he’ll attend in the fall in Cleveland County.
Yes. He’ll attend school in the fall. Colby will go to kindergarten.
“We have jumped through many hoops and climbed many mountains,” Emily says. “I’m thrilled to say that with lots of work, time, and love, Colby has an amazing vocabulary. He has friends and plays sports and tolerates learning new skills with other children. He’s even now working on addition!”
Emily says she tries to share her son’s journey as much as she can to help encourage early intervention.
“Every doctor, therapist, social worker, teacher, friend, family member, coach… every person who has had a large or small impact on Colby’s life… has no doubt gotten him to where he is today,” she said. “Colby is incredibly smart, loving, adventurous, kind, and strong. Most of all, he is my hero.”
Emily is a great example of advocating for your child.
“There are big plans ahead for Colby, I just know it,” Emily said. “I can’t wait to watch him grow and be alongside him every step of the way.”
As many of you know -- some of you because you raise children who live with autism -- there are multiple levels of severity.
Colby, again, is high-functioning.
Here are some facts it feels smart to share, during April in particular as the world works to accept all those who live with autism:
- One in 54 kids are diagnosed with autism, says the CDC.
- Boys are 4x more likely to be diagnosed than girls. - It’s 1 in 34 boys. - One in 144 girls. - (Average that out to be 1 in 54 kids overall.)
- Most children are diagnosed after age 4.
- A few, like Colby, are diagnosed before the age of two.
- Autism affects all ethnic and socioeconomic groups.
- You can find more -- including resources and help -- at Autism Speaks (www.autismspeaks.org).
Welcome to #MollysKids, Colby.
Thank you and your mom for educating us all.