Written by Erin MacPherson
Last updated on May 13, 2013 @ 12:42PM
Created on May 11, 2013 @ 5:43PM
Last week on 5 News, we gave you a little background on what autism is and Obama's Brain Mapping Project. Now, we want to introduce you to a family who lives with the struggles of autism every day.
5 News met a family right in Bridgeport that many local residents may know, the Ford's. Brad and Carol Ford have two sons Cameron and Conner. Cameron's away at college, but we met the rest of the gang.
"That was pretty good Conner," said Brad Ford.
Conner is a 15-year-old boy with autism and he's on the higher functioning scale of the spectrum. Brad stressed that he's a child with autism not an autistic child.
"We hope more people will be like our great niece, I hope they're like more people that are close to him that look at him as Conner first and not disability first," said Brad.
This family isn't different form your everyday household, but there are things in their home you may not find somewhere else.
"Every floor on the whole house there's something he can do if he feels out of sorts. We have a therapy ball on every floor that he can just bounce on. I don't think you'll find that in anyone else's house," said Carol Ford.
The Fords say they challenge Conner. Sometimes he may not like it but he's learning he has to work for what he wants.
"Visual schedule. He has chores. And he wants to make sure he gets his chores checked off for his allowance. And he's saving up for a special gift," said Brad.
Cameron and Conner are four years apart and may not have your everyday brother relationship, but they still have something great.
"He misses him. Out of the blue, all of a sudden he'll ask let's call Cameron, let's talk to Cameron. It's not a daily thing but I'd say once a week he wants to talk to his brother about stuff and tell him, it's funny because he doesn't want to know what Cameron has done, He wants to tell him everything he's done," said Brad.
"Cameron has taught Conner a lot. What we can't get Conner to do. Cameron can get him to do in an instant. Just some of the little basic things," said Carol.
Carol home schools Conner and said he's at a 4th grade level, but she teaches him the topics at the level he should be.
"You have to break it down and you have to re-do it and you have to use a lot of visuals and you have to use a lot of mediums, so he gets what you're talking about. One on one he seems to learn a lot more than in a group setting," said Carol.
This is just a small taste of the Ford family and they challenge you when you see a child with autism. Find the person before you find the disability.
Autism Speaks. Are You Listening?
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