Article_WomensWorld by chRashidnawaz


									                                                                                                                             surprise, he looked at her and smiled.
                                                                                                                               "Bridger hasn't looked directly at
                                                                                                                             me in over a year!" she rejoiced.
                                                                                                                             "Maybe this really will work!"
    Doctors said it was                                                                                                        That afternoon, when Bridger
                                                                                                                             began whirling in circles, so did
 hopeless—*hat her son                                                                                                       Nancy. And when she picked up a
                                                                                                                             teddy bear and whirled with it,
would never be a happy,                                                                                                      Bridger followed suit "He's imitat
                                                                                                                             ing me!" Nancy laughed.
   loving little boy. But                                                                                                      Slowly, but surely, Bridger was let
                                                                                                                             ting her hack into his world again.
   Nancy Mahlum just                                                                                                           Back at home, Nancy and Doug
                                                                                                                             spent hours working with him—
couldn't give up on three-                                                                                                   and caring for his new baby
                                                                                                                             brother Colter. More and more
year-old Bridget: Somehow,                                                                                                   often, as they imitated his every
                                                                                                                             move, Bridger rewarded them
  somewhere, she was                                                                                                         with smiles, or sometimes even
  determined to find the                                                                                                     offered them his toys.
                                                                                                                               But Nancy didnt realize just how
 miracle that would give                                                                                                     much he had progressed until one
                                                                                                                             day, after nearly a year of therapy,
    her back her son...                                                                                                      Bridger walked up to Nancy and
                                                                                                                             spontaneously announced, "I love

"T love you, Mommy!"
                                                                                                                             you, Mommyf"
                                                                                                                              I never thought Td hear those
                                                                                                                             words! she thought, a tiny sob
                                                                                                                             catching in her throat And as she
                                                                                                                             threw her arms around Bridger,
                                                                                                                             another miracle happened.
Look, Bridger!" Nancy                      suggested she have Bridger evalu         pendent on others their whole lives.      After years of pulling back or
                                           ated, Nancy set up an appointment         She felt hopeless until her friend      going limp whenever she tried to
   Mahlum exclaimed.
                                            "He doesn't respond to our voices       Cindy dropped by...                      hug Turn, this time she felt arms
       "LookatMommymake                    or hug us back," Nancy told the psy       "I just read a book about a pro         wrap around her and squeeze.
the car go! Vroom! VroomT                  chologist ata child development cen      gram called Son-Rise!" she said. "It's   Bridger was hugging her back!
  It was a moment that would have          ter. "He was always such a happy         about parents who designed a pro          And the miracles were just begin
delighted most three-year-olds. But        child," she added, her voice trem        gram to reach their autistic son—        ning. Soon Bridger was greeting
like every other time Nancy played         bling. "But lately..."                   and today he's a college graduate!"      Dadidy with hugs when he came
with her little boy, Bridger just            Tin sony" a doctor finally diag-        That night, Nancy stayed up all      home. And tears ofjoy filled Nancy's
stared into space                          rosed Bridget "Ycursanhasautism—         night devouring every page of that    eyes as she watched Bridger show
 "Children like this rarely im             a severe developmental disorder.''       book, for the first time in months,   ing his brother how to play trucks.
prove," doctors had told her.               No! Nancy wanted to cry, but            her heart was filled with hope.       "You go Vroom, Vrooni! he roared.
 Yet Nancy couldnt bring herself           when she opened her mouth, noth                                                         Incredibly, when it was time
                                           ing rwnv* out. She remembered            ] "This could be the answer for Bridger to start kinder
to just give up. "There must be some
way to reach you, Bridger," she said,      haunting images from a show she'd        jweVe been praying for," garten, he tested normal in
blinking back tears. Somehow, HI           seen on autism—children spinning                                                      all areas. And best of all, like
                                           endlessly, oblivious to the world
                                                                                    • she excitedly told Doug                    any other boy, he loved it!
find a way...
 It seemed like just yesterday that        around them. Children living in            This could be the answer we've        Two years later, the boy who doc
she held Bridger for the first time,       their own worlds. Just like Bridger.     been praying for," she excitedly told tors predicted would never lead a
her husband Doug looking on                  Nancy listened numbly as the doc       Doug. Soon the family was travel      normal life is a happy, healthy eight-
proudly. Before she knew it, he was        tor explained that Bridger would         ing to Massachusetts for a training   year-old. And when Bridger cuddles
standing in his crib each morning,         probably never learn to read or                                                   with his mom just to talk, her heart
happilybabbling "Mama."                    write or even learn to talk. "He may          you communicate with Bridger swells with joy. These are the times
  But after his second birthday,           always be in bis own world, unable       on his level, ifs possible to draw she realizes the most vividly what a
about the time Nancy discovered            to live a normal life."                  him out," their teachers explained. precious gift she's been given.
she was expecting again, she and            Back home, tears choked Nancy as        The program had helped hundreds        "When Bridger was diagnosed with
Doug began to notice a change in           she looked out the window and saw        of autistic children live normal autism, I thought it was the end of
                                                  little ones riding their tricy    lives—helping them to play and the world," Nancy says. *"But now I
f "He'll be unable to lead a                      cles. What kind of future will    Ialk and go to school and learn like know it was just the beginning."
                                                  my boy have? she anguished.       any other children.                                           -PegVerone
 [normal life," the doctor                         Not much we can do ...             The first step is show
 said as she listened numbly                      The doctors words echoed in       ing Bridger that you
                                                  her mind. And yet, Nancy          accept him as he is," the
Bridges Gazing into space, he often        thought, inside he's stul thejsame       teacher said during the
didn't notice when Nancy called his        little boy HI always love. There
                                                  "    '        "     — - -         first session. So instead of
name. And when his daddy tried to           must be some way to reach him!          trying to get him to play
play with him, he turned away.               The next day, Nancy quit her job       her way, when Bridger
Almost overnight, Bridger grew irri
table and whiny, flying into tan
                                            in personnel to spend all her time
                                            with Bridger—and search for an
                                                                                    sat mesmerized, spin
                                                                                    ning the wheels of a toy                        utisnt
 trums or banging his head on the           swers. Boring over books and jour       car, Nancy picked up a              Treatment Center
 floor ifhe couldn't and a favorite toy.    nals, and ffllnng experts, Nancy left   toy truck and spun the                     of America1"
   "Don't worry," the pediatrician                              d But
                                            no stone unturned. Bt over and     d    wheels herself
 said. "He's fine."                         over, she heard the same thing—           "This is cool!" she said
   But when Nancy's friend Cindy,           almost 1009b of children with au        as she watched the                  2080 South Undermouncain Road
 who worked with disabled children,         tism as severe as Bridgers were de-     grooves making patterns             Sheffield, MA 01257-9643 USA
                                                                                    as they moved. So this is
                                                                                                                        Tet (413) 229-2M0 Fsc (413) 229-8931
                                                                                    what his world looks like,               E-mail:
                                                                                    she thought. And to her

To top