This Stories of Autism project has evolved into a wonderful web of relationships and connections in the Madison, WI area. Families hear of me through friends who also have children on the spectrum and have participated in a photo session for the cause. Autism awareness paired with special images of their youngsters, who may be tough to photograph traditionally, lead them my way. This little lady, Morgan, won my heart the moment I saw her. She wore a cuddly, bright-colored fleece and had a smile that could light up the room. She has an amazing, loving family and equally inspiring Story of Autism.
The year 2004 had just begun and we couldn’t wait to start our family. Little did we know just how strong our family would be and just how big our extended family would become.
As a 1lb 10oz surviving triplet, Morgan has been our little peanut from birth. We knew from the start that she was a determined little girl who continued to endure further obstacles. Morgan’s inability to orally consume nourishment required placement of a gastrostomy tube, also known as a “g-tube” for feeding.
Still, we knew something else was not quite right, she wasn’t talking. We continued our visits with specialty doctors from the Waisman Center, who followed Morgan’s development. Then in November 2006, we received the Autism diagnosis. Our world and our direction changed forever. Autism, what is it and what does that mean? To Morgan, it meant nothing, except meeting numerous new friends/therapists.
From the “Birth to Three” program therapists that helped Morgan learn to sit, crawl and eventually walk, to “IDS Integrated Development Service” therapists who came to our home for the next few years teaching her daily living skills and a new way to talk. We attended a new pilot program that is now called “Common Threads”, for those very same needs.
We are also thankful to many others who have been influential in Morgan’s care and development – nurses, family members, new and existing friends, Family Support & Resource Center of Dane County, United Cerebral Palsy, The Waisman Center Augmentative Communication Aids & Systems Clinic (CASC) and our very own Middleton Cross Plains school district. Autism has brought to us, another family that we wouldn’t have known.
We are most thankful to Morgan’s two sets of grandparents who live close by; we relied on them constantly to get through each day, week, and year. A phone call and they were there to help. Morgan just beams with smiles when they come to visit.
For all of us that know Morgan, she has given us an appreciation for the little things. Her constant smiles and giggles make your day along with her love for stuffed animals, “Clifford the Big Red Dog,” “Blue,” and “Abby Cadabby” are a few of her favorites.
Morgan’s medical challenges and autism require us to provide her with constant guidance and attention. But the time you spend with her is personal and so rewarding. Her learning abilities may be challenged but she has an understanding for providing those around her with the biggest hugs and high fives, making all of our days, and even a complete stranger’s day, a little bit brighter. Anyone that remotely resembles Morgan’s grandmothers is fair game to be hugged in her eyes.
In this busy world we “thank you,” Morgan, for showing us how to appreciate the little things.
Perry & Wendy, Morgan’s Parents
And, one of those “little things” is when kids with similar special needs have the opportunity to gather and play together worry-free of acceptance. Please support our August 2nd Carrie Anciaux Photography | Stories of Autism Picnic by donating here. Your monies will help us bring in pony rides and a bounce house for sensory needs, purchase t-shirts for the participants, and have gluten-free food for the families. See three new friends, below. Thank you!