See Chris's pictures birth to age 7

7th grade

under construction

updated 12/04 --- It is our happiness and joy to report that between July and December Chris has been much healthier, happier, and fun to be around. It is our hope that gains will continue and that problems we continue to have will get less and less. I hope to update again soon and fill in more history - keep checking through 2005. Meanwhile, to read more of what happened in the last 6 months check out the 2004 Christmas newsletter.

dh, 12/15/04

to say goodbye to you would be so sad
the child of my youth
all my life I dreamt of your arrival
it made my heart so glad

we waited years for you
you were born and we clung to you so tight
checked you in the night, looking for your breath
we were so careful to do everything just right

our firstborn son, you began to slip away
we didn't notice at first, just thought you were shy
or quiet or the deep intelligent type
when you ceased your speech at 2 I thought I'd die

to see you hurt yourself, the precious skin and self
that formed inside of me, then was born
is catastrophic and deadening, the greatest tragedy
of our lives, the event we always mourn

more than autism itself, the pain, the violence
that you would be in such pain,
the sound of fear is perhaps worse than just the silence
that we would hear if you were just happy but quiet, playing in the rain

like you used to do out in the pool, when you were five
the rain beat down but you were happy with your symphony
of bubbles that rose above you like a crown
you always loved the pool, the bath, the river, more than any pony

that any other boy would like
we were sad at your difference at times but loved to watch you smile
and now to hear your laugh instead of your cry
would answer our prayers, at least for a while.

The whole family needs to be kept safe and strong
whatever it takes to help you all grow
and to keep the girl and little boy growing up in health
I pray an answer comes soon, that we will know.

It wouldn't really be goodbye, if it comes to a new home
it would be a place that could help you thrive
in your own way, in your own time
if that is the decision that is to arrive

We would still see you often and love you so much
though of course we hope the answer is that you stay
whatever happens I know that the Lord is with us
And will give us strength to face each day.

copyright criscoll 7/5/04


A boy alone leaving life behind
he asks nothing of you or me
he does not ask because he has no words
nothing we can perceive

his words are his for no one else
just him alone, you see
does he live, I am not sure
he moves he eats he breaths

but somehow I feel there is
a way to cross this sea
the way it seems and that I know
will always be the same

what can I do, what shall I do
there’s no bridge I can cross
I know there is no win
and there is no loss

there is a sea that we may never cross
but let us try and by the grace of God
let us build a craft that might

@copyright 1997 criscoll


The everyday world doesn't make you smile
An inner angel delights you for a while
The world of light projects its rays
The rainbow escapes your steady gaze

You look beyond to worlds unknown
Will you catch a ball or skip water with a stone?
Will you ride down the sidewalk on a bike?
Blow out candles on a cake, sing into a mike?

Your eyes of brown are affectionate and warm
You snuggle and sometimes cry at your inner storm
You bring a book and let us read you its tale
Will you ride along on life's boat when it sets sail?

Will you stay with us forever, our son of angel eyes?
Your inner Godly spirit shines through your cries
You create heavenly music on the piano keys
Will you climb upon the monkey bars and fall and skin your knees?

Do you hear our "I love you's"
as we try to bring you out to the world you refuse?
Though sometimes you seem to learn a new skill
Life's great adventures don't seem to give you such a thrill

Love us and hold us and teach us your language
So we can learn the communication from your older age
Dance with us sometimes and twirl around
Reach into the heavens but then touch the ground

@copyright 1996 criscoll

Christopher was born in November, 1990, a welcome first addition to our twosome. We lived in a small apartment when he was born, and enjoyed his babyhood in our humble home with joy. We did not know until Christopher was 4 that he had autism, and he arrived at his baby milestones on time. He was a cute chunky baby, breastfed until 14 months, and fed solids according to pediatric schedule starting at 6 months. He was fun, adaptable, cute, and a pleasant, "easy" baby. Christopher kept me up at night only for about 6 weeks, at which time he settled into just waking up at 4 a.m., and then when I returned to work he magically began to sleep through the early morning as well, awakening about 7 a.m. when he would nurse right before my leaving with him for "Mama's" house, who would care for him while I worked for the next 3 years with the help of her husband ("Papa") and "Grandma Mary."

Christopher took his first steps on Daddy's birthday in January, following his crawling and sitting up beautifully on time! Christopher loved his "binky," but after one year of age we made it only for "night-night." He also napped very well, taking two naps until about 16 months, and 1 nap until age 3.

He went to church with me continuously - to choir practice; to services until he went in nursery, where I also often worked; and to Bible studies, both at church and at home!

At age 2, Chris spoke 50 words. He also had said perhaps 3 sentences, but I was concerned that he wasn't talking enough. He was (is!) so smart, though - he could match his letter pieces to outline drawings of the same letters, and could say colors and match them! He also sang songs. I did ask the doctor about his speech, but was told that he should grow out of the speech delay, to be patient and read to him a lot. I did that, but at age 2 3/4 (September, of 1993, ironically the same month I became pregnant with my daughter), Christopher stopped talking.

We could not figure out what was wrong. Christopher was also very unhappy. He began throwing things and seeming very upset. Coincidentally he had spent his first evening at a babysitter's without us that evening before he ceased speaking, and we were told that another child had hit him, upsetting him. We still wonder about that to this day.

At his 3 year old dr. visit in November we began the battery of tests that I've since learned all autistic children undergo. First is a detailed hearing/speech evaluation, and then as the child usually is unable to take this kind of test he/she has a hearing test with the wires attached to his scalp with a type of soft adhesive - no pain, just irritating to the child and upsetting to the parents when the sedative given does not work, but makes them hyper, as did happen to us! However, Christopher eventually (after 2-3 tries at the test) passed the hearing test. He had several other tests which I've forgotten each after the years gone by -- Fragile X, nasal passages, eeg, etc.

Christopher started a preschool that had typical/special needs mix in the same room, and attended for 2 1/2 years. He adjusted well and actually did regain in that first year about 50 words. He did not use them often but they were there. When he was 3 1/2 and my daughter was born, he said "I love you" to us in the hospital room. That same week he said "sister." It was precious.

In 1996 Christopher changed schools to attend an MRDD school, which I believe stands for Mentally Retarded Development Disabilities but am not sure. He began to attend all day at that point, at age 5. He turned 6 in November, though. He did fine, attending 9 - 2:30, I believe. That was his last year of preschool, and he continued to attend this school for two more years of primary. The faculty here was loving and caring, as they were at the other preschool. As time went by different individuals began to try new ways, and the Miller method was chosen as therapy for the autistic students at the school. My mother-in-law began to volunteer and eventually became an employee there, first working with Chris on the Miller method and then with other students. They also began to incorporate the Teacch method.

At this school Christopher accomplished learning to work with others better, paying more attention, and also became potty trained!

Through this accomplishment, Christopher was ready to begin attending a regular public school this year in a MH (multi-handicapped) class.


on Autism

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