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Travis’ Story 

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Country: United States 

Journey to diagnosis

Travis didn’t use spoken language until he was 4 years old speaking only one-word sentences. We worked with him on his speech by teaching him ASL and speaking the word at the same time. He didn’t potty train until he was almost 3 and wasn’t using typical communication. 

GET TO KNOW TRAVIS

Travis loves his iPad and iPhone; it's how he learns and communicates. It is also how I can track where he is. Travis loves Mario. His room is all Mario and plays it on his switch. For graduation he wants to go to Mario World which was only in Japan, but thankfully they just opened one up this year in California. I think it will be where we take him for graduation.

Travis was also born 5 weeks early and was born with a dermoid cyst that went from the end of his nose to the inside of his skull. After having the cyst removed, he said his first words “Ouch Mommy it hurts”. This was the first time he ever talked - at age 4. It took us 18 months to get Travis in to be tested to see what was going on. We didn’t even know about autism. So when we got the diagnosis at age 6, we had no idea what to do. His diagnosis was nonverbal autism and attention deficit disorder. This is where he just couldn’t calm his brain down. He wasn’t hyper, but his brain couldn’t slow down so he could take things in and process them. There was no internet or Facebook, there was no autism awareness or autism groups to join. We felt very lost being from a rural area - the closest children's hospital was over 200 miles away. We finally got a Children's village closer to us but because it was the only thing like it for miles around, it was so hard to get in.  

 

Travis is now 18 years old, 6.’3”, and 280 lbs. We are learning how to help him be as independent as he can be, knowing we won’t always be around to help him and that he will always need help. We need to make sure we help educate our community, the doctors, teachers, first responders, and caregivers. We passed a law in Washington state called ‘The Travis Alert Act’, which started as an autism bill but soon turned into a law that would help all people with disabilities in case of an emergency.

 

Reflections & hopes for the future

Looking back I wish I could have gotten an earlier diagnosis for Travis. But because of Travis, we have passed a law helping others, and with the experience I have learned from fighting the school for a reasonable IEP and to keep Travis safe while allowing him to be more independent at school, we have been able to educate the school and help other parents speak up for their children’s education.

 

I am thankful that we learned about SPARK for Autism because that is how we got the Cul3 deletion diagnosis for Travis, even though he was already 12 years old. We are still learning what this means and how it affects Travis’ social development and health. I am also happy we have the people in this group who are leading the way for better understanding and for making us all feel like we are all part of a special family.

 

I love to be able to look back and see how far Travis has come. I love to see him smile when he is enjoying things he loves to do. I also will never get tired of his babbling and hearing him saying I love you, Mommy, because I never thought it would ever happen. I can’t wait to see what else this journey holds for us.

When Travis graduates from high school we want to see if he can take a few college classes in business. It won't be an AA or a BA but he will feel like he got to go to college and will be able to walk the stage and graduate with his certificate. Then we are going to open up a hot dog stand so that Travis will be able to work within his community and we will be there with him every step of the way.

Last updated 2023

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