This establishes “Justice for Justin” and "Courage for Cody"!

Our names are Justin and Cody. We are 9 years old and 4 years old. We have an Autism Spectrum Disorder called PDD-NOS and Aspergers Syndrome.


        Hi, most of you know me already. If you don't, my name is Carissa and I am the mother to three special needs boys. One of my boys, Justin, has an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Cody is my youngest and was diagnosed as PDD-NOS as well, but I strongly feel that he may be High Functioning Aspergers.  I will be taking him to a different specialist to have him tested.

        Autism has changed my outlook for Justin, Cody and myself. I now know the reasons why they do some of the things they do and why I couldn't understand why they did them. Most of the time I would continually tell Justin and Cody to stop doing something and Justin would tell me he couldn't help it, but Cody doesn't understand at all.

        Justin is just like any other boy except he is socially and emotionally challenged. A lot of the time he likes to be by himself even with his brothers around him. He gets very upset if his area of play is disturbed. Cody is much different. He plays by himself the majority of the time and will occasionally get upset if anyone attempts to interact with him. Cody has an expressive/receptive language disorder.

        Justin also has ADHD, ODD, OCD and have trouble with Social Anxiety issues. He also don't make friends easily, but is always looking for a friend. He likes to ride his bike and play with cars. He has two little brothers that he plays with every day and also has four cousins that are all girls. He don't get to see them anymore and that makes him sad. Justin likes cars, a lot and when he plays with them, he lines them up or puts them in a circle and drives one at a time around that circle. Cody has learned to do this too. Justin carries his cars and whatever other little things everywhere. He has over 100 cars that include Matchbox and Hot Wheels. He also loves NASCAR and only has a few of them. Cody is stuck on Buzz Lightyear, Elmo and Clifford right now. Cody likes to play with doors, mostly cabinets and cupboards.

        I am not as hard on Justin and Cody when it comes to discipline. I used to because I thought the was doing things on purpose to annoy me and that he was arrogant. I now know that his impulsivity causes him to do some things and that he doesn't do them on purpose. He does get his time outs for certain things, but mostly for normal boy stuff.

        Justin did things on time except talk. He was forced potty trained by the time he was 3 1/2 because at the time we didn't know anything about Autism or delays or anything of that sort. Justin has a specific diet of his own choosing because of a disorder called Food/Texture Aversion. This has to do with Sensory Integration Disorder as well. He only likes certain foods and will get upset if he is offered new foods to try. He just wants to eat what he likes and nothing more.

        We potty trained Cody on his time. He is potty trained for daytime, but still has to wear a pull up at night. We think the Hypotonia that affects his muscles may be interfering with telling him to get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. For this, we have stopped all drinking after 7pm. What's amazing is that Cody potty trained himself with going #2 (bowel movement). Cody is not so picky about food, but is underweight because of feeding issues. We don't know why, but Cody only likes to drink and hardly eat. We hope to find out what is causing him to have food aversion issues.

        Justin and Cody are very thoughtful and loving boys. They are smart and do well in school. Justin used to dislike going to school during First and Second grades. Towards the end of the school year for Second grade, we moved, and he went to a new school. I am so glad we made the move and he was finally place in an EH (emotionally handicapped) classroom. Oh did it make a BIG DIFFERENCE! He was finally enjoying school and was upset if he missed the bus or had to stay home sick or had to be pulled out early for a doctor appointment. He was doing his homework because his teacher did not mind him doing his homework on the computer. He hates to write, literally! Third grade was another challenge. He had a female teacher and his grade fluctuated. This year, he is in the Fourth grade and being mainstreamed. I was kind of upset at first until I found out there is a small amount of students in his class. This is because the school is small. Cody is attending his first year of Head Start. He attended 2 1/2 years of the Early Head Start program in Fort Myers, Florida. He loves school and anticipates it every day! He is riding the bus for the first time and loves that too! He is such a big boy!

        Justin sometimes has trouble sharing and getting along with his brothers or his cousins. This is where his time outs come in. If he doesn’t get his own way, he will call names or scream demands at everyone. Sometimes, he makes demands from me too. Cody has learned these behaviors from Justin, so I get a double dose of it.

        If someone even thinks about teasing him about his habits because they don’t know about the kind of child my son is, Justin will find a place to crawl under and hide until it’s time to go home. He’s a very emotional child and a lot of Justin, I see in me and can remember some of the things I had to deal with growing up. Cody doesn't like to be pushed because he gets scared easily. I let him feel his way around before fully introducing things to him. Sometimes he will do it on his own and finds he enjoys them and sometimes, he will just hide behind me and be shy.

        Justin and Cody might have autistic tendencies, but that doesn’t make them anymore different from any other child. They run, play, smile, laugh, jump, hop, cry, cough, sneeze just like you and me, but they are still human and deserve the same respect. If you see a child that doesn't fully listen to their parent, please, don't automatically think that this child is spoiled or has a bad parent...It just means that the child may have Autism or an Autism Spectrum Disorder.

        In closing this letter, I want to let you know about our Walk FAR for NAAR! This stands for Family and Friends for Autism Research/National Alliance for Autism Research! As I am getting people together to form a team, I am also hoping for sponsorship from you, my family and friends! Your donations are tax deductible and you should make your checks out to National Alliance for Autism Research or NAAR. NAAR’s Tax-Exempt ID Number is 04-3246763.

        NAAR is taking an important role in today’s society. Did you know that with more and more people being diagnosed with Autism these days, that there isn’t enough money for research? NAAR is a member of the Medical Research Agencies of America (MRAA) and is included in the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC). NAAR is also included in the United Way of San Francisco’s campaign through the MRAA. In addition, many United Way Corporate Campaigns will allow you to support autism research by “writing-in” the National Autism Research as your charity beneficiary. NAAR committed more than three million dollars in grants for biomedical research projects worldwide that seek to find the causes, prevention, effective treatments and ultimately the cure for the Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Facts about Autism Spectrum Disorders:

        Having a child with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) pushes me to WANT to give so that I can maybe give some help in finding the cure for ASD.   Again, thank you for supporting “Justice for Justin” and NAAR!

Other Web sites of similar interest: