|Event Hours: 10:00am – 12:00pm||Official Walk Start: 11:00am|
Taelass, Ottawa Walk Ambassador
More about Taelass from his mom, Kristal.
At what age were you diagnosed with autism?
Taelass at a young age of 18 months was referred to the CHEO Treatment Centre, I remember that day like it was yesterday. In the family doctor’s office out of the blue he started banging his head on the tiles of the floor. It was one of the scariest moments I have had, little did I know if I thought that was scary what happened in the following years continue to be just as scary if not more. He was then sent to a paediatrician which ended up for a referral to the Treatment Centre. At about 20-24 months we had our intake appointment, and from there everything almost seems like a blur as he started speech therapy and occupational therapy. During our wait to see a diagnosing paediatrician, Taelass began other habits along with his head banging, he loved to jump and I tell you this little boy can jump, flapping his hands, excessively biting when I have to remove him from unsafe situations or he didn’t receive what he wanted etc. Taelass’s diet is very limited it consists of very few things, I can most likely list them to you on one hand. It’s upsetting being a parent and seeing your child basically starve until he gets those specific items he eats. Taelass’s favourite food for years has been pizza, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, muffins and peanut butter sandwiches. He doesn’t have fruits or veggies. This is not what I want for him but in the end he does need to eat. Taelass for a very long time did not respond to his name or even have words. He started signing which was amazing and use PECS. He didn’t have words until he was about 5-6. He enjoys to be outdoors and doing activities but when it’s over it’s very challenging. He never liked anything dirty or sticky on his hands, you would have to wash it asap or he would never stop screaming about it. Skipping to him being 2 ½ we finally got our appointment with the doctor. It was a long appointment with so many questions. That same day he was diagnosed with Level 3 ASD (Severe).
How has autism affected your life?
Autism has made interacting in society a big challenge. At the beginning Taelass chose to be alone, he never really wanted to play with anyone, he was always playing by himself, the children that were around him the most were his brothers. However, over the years Taelass has opened up and he loves to be around everyone and tries to befriend anyone he meets. I am very thankful the children he has at school love him and don’t judge him for his differences.
How doe it make you unique? And helped you excel?
Taelass is a happy little boy who loves to make you smile, he finds a lot of joy in making you laugh. He could try and talk your ear off about plants vs zombies which he has had a love for since he was 4. He leans more to the zombies though. He goes everywhere with one in hand. He has even been caught acting like them in the playground at school with a pylon on his head ha ha. If you are familiar with the game you will understand.
I would say autism made Taelass excel in him being able to see the world in a different light. He is automatically very friendly to everyone. He always strives to cheer someone up and be the light on a darker day. There’s a lot of un unkindness in the world but I know that Taelass is here striving to change that!
What struggles have you faced because of your autism?
Taeless struggles with what a lot of children do. Not getting his way is a big one, changing activities and sometimes sharing a favoured item, which then lead into very large meltdowns. He still struggles with communicating which is also a factor as it leads to behaviours like biting, spitting and throwing objects. Redirection or sometimes a quiet moment in his room will solve that.
How has your family supported you through your autism journey?
This is a tough one to answer. I hope he would feel the same as I feel. We love Taelass with all our hearts. He is a very, very special little boy. I am his biggest advocate. Everyday I hope I make the right choices to benefit him. It’s been such a learning experience not only for him but for me as well, I like to think that together we can continue to learn more and more about each other and how we can strive to bring awareness to the world.
I am so thankful that Taelass has brothers to spend time with and have step by step released their COMPLETED needs to be patient when they play games together. The most favoured activity by far for Taelass is when his oldest brother draws zombies for him. Taelass will just stand beside him thrilled at what he sees.
Has your life been impacted by Coronavirus? What are some of your goals and hopes for the future?
Yes it has that’s for sure! Especially at the beginning where they shut the playgrounds down and closed everything. You see Taelass was used to always being on the go so when it changed all of a sudden to always staying home well that was something I wasn’t well prepared for. We could drive by an area and he would point to a place that he loved to go if we had to pass it and he would just scream out of frustration on not being able to go to the place. He can’t understand what is happening. I don’t think any of us really do So a lot of the time consisted of driving to a forest and wander around or try to do baking/arts and crafts which he only gives so much of his attention to. He had his first visit back at Cosmic Adventures last week, his home away from home. He loved every minute! He hadn’t been there for almost two years.
Taelass lost a good six months in his SK year in an assessment program that he was a candidate for. He wasn’t able to have that time back as it was offered only for Kindergarten students. I can only hope he can continue to attend school in person to continue his learning along with his socialization that he strives for as online learning is not good for him.
What advice would you give to a young person, recently diagnosed with autism, wondering what the future holds for them?
Umm that’s a tough one since Taelass can’t answer so I would have to guess always COMPLETED strive to achieve your goals no matter how hard at the time they may look. Live everyday with a smile, it does wonders for you and everyone around.
What five words best describe you to the world?
Now that’s an answer I can easily give, he is kind, caring, silly, joyful and passionate.
Why are you interested in becoming an Autism Speaks Canada Walk Ambassador?
To show the world I am different not less! We have participated in fundraising and the walk going on five years now. We would like to raise more awareness so that people may not be so quick to judge. Taelass may look like your typical seven year old boy but he’s way more than that.
Please tell us about yourself? Your interests and hobbies? Grade? Personality?
Taelass is now in grade two. He has a passion for zombies and any movie made by Tim Burton (he is a child after my own heart) and, of course we cannot forget about his iPad. He also loves the pool, playground and going on rides at the fair!
How do you see your future? What do you wan to be when you grow up?
How would I like to see Taelass’s future? I would love if he could manage a part time job somewhere that he could be around people, he’s a people person. That would be a very big step for him.
When Taelass grows up I see him maybe helping in a day camp or with children, playing games and activities, he has the never ending energy for it and I know he will always be a child at heart.
In one word, how would your friend and family describe you?