My name is Tiffany Dozier and I live in Junction City, Kansas. My husband recently started working overseas as a government contractor in Qatar. He’s originally from NY,NY and I’m an Air Force Brat. Our sons are Anwar ,10, Savion,9, and Taj,7. They were diagnosed before the age of 3 with severe autism, emotional, social, and cognitive delays. They all started speaking late, and our communication began with sign language, also by using pictures to indicate what they wanted(PECS) in preschool. Anwar started using a Dynavox(speaking device)before Kindergarten and Savion and Taj benefited. I decided to start blogging after my youngest son entered Kindergarten.
I’m a performer(dancer,actress,singer) that became a stay at home mom. My husband recently started working overseas as a government contractor in Qatar. I moved with Anwar(then 2/12) and Savion from NY,NY to Kansas for a brief stay, that extended, when Anwar was diagnosed. My husband soon followed. We have been blessed with the support of my parents(two houses down the street)and surrounding community, plus extended relatives with care of the boys.
Though the boys received the same diagnosis at the University of Kansas Center for Child Health and Development, their abilities differ. They all receive speech and occupational therapy services. Anwar uses an AAC device to communicate, with modeling and prompting, he uses it independently for basic wants and needs such as: “We go drive car,” or his favorite, “McDonald’s,” it’s also used during schoolwork. He knows some words. He’s in a classroom with peers of his diagnosis and receives one on one instruction. He is mainstreamed for reading ,P.E., Choir and loves the outdoors, one of his challenges includes self-injurious behavior.
Savion is also in a self-contained classroom, but he is verbal and can engage in simple conversations. He is mainstreamed for math, reading, P.E., and Choir. He is advanced in his math and reading skills, but struggles with comprehension.
Taj, now verbal, is in a general education first grade class. I was concerned about him going to a full day general education class, that he might be overwhelmed with an increased class size, but he is flourishing.
We receive help through the Kansas Autism Waiver for Taj. We have providers in our home that come during the day, some evenings and outings to assist Taj with skills, our family benefits from the extra set of hands at meals, baths. Taj started receiving these benefits at the age of 5. Anwar and Savion recently qualified for the I/DD waiver(Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Waiver) and have started working with caregivers in our home..
The posts I write are past and present experiences with the boys, some uplifting, some sad, some comical. I hope they can offer laughter and some relief to grandparents, parents, teachers, friends and siblings of children on the spectrum. Stay at home parents of kids on the spectrum may feel isolated, if there are not others in the community willing to talk or reach out, or the parents are too exhausted or sad to attempt friendship. Thanks for reading my family stories.