Anxiety has been a big issue for Brendan over the last 2 years. He has refused to get into anybody else's car expect for mine for the last 2 years. This has been such a struggle for us especially my husband because he wouldn't even ride in my husbands car. We have been working on getting him to just touch anther car from the outside to putting his iPad in the car so he would have to get in the car to retrieve it. We have worked on this for over a year. I am happy to share that he has gotten into a couple different cars over the last couple months without an issues. This is a huge win for all of us. Going to a bowling alley has also been a big struggle the last 2 years. Well this kid just walks into bowling like he has done this before. He listened, waited his turn to bowl but the best part is he had so much fun! He had an amazing experience at the dentist and the doctors. He used to kick and scream at both of those. He is starting to understand what is going on and he is realizing that all the things he was so scared of are all ok.
I was asked by AZA United to speak to American Airlines employees to give a parents perspective on flying with a child with special needs. I was able to share all of my own fears I have when flying with Brendan along with his anxiety issues. I wanted them to know that autism can be an invisible disability but their employees still need to be educated. If we are in the air and Brendan starts crying it is not because he didn't get a cookie its because he is terrified. I wasn't even sure if he would get on an airplane since he has anxiety to so much. We are getting ready to leave on a 10 day vacation and I was terrified that it was going to be a disaster flying with him. After my speech was over I had some of the employees approach me and say they wanted to help. They set up a day where we got to go the American Airlines hanger at Sky Harbor airport. They had a plane set out just for him! They had it turned on so he can hear the sound. They let him go into the plane and explore anything he wanted. He was super excited to go into the plane but I wasn't sure if was actually going to go in. But what do know he walked right in with absolutely no issues. American Airlines has gone above and beyond for my family. They made sure our trips next week will be perfect. They have helped me so much. It is one less thing I have to worry about on our trip. Thank you to AZA United for choosing me to represent your company and thank you to American Airlines for making sure Brendan has the best experience flying.
Brendan is now one of the most social little 4 year olds. He will say hi to everyone in the room and he will continue to say hi to you until you answer him. He will say thank you when someone compliments him most of the time as well as he says your welcome. He always wants to play make believe like doctor, house, school and babies. I love that he will play all of these things with his sister. Everyday he is making so much progress. I am not even sure if I have really grasped all of this. This is all proof of why getting early intervention is so important.