LIFE IS A SPECTRUM / Meet the 'Feet

Meet the 'Feet

About us, how to contact us, and all that jazz ...

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Amanda Broadfoot

Back in 2005, when I wrote a story about three autistic children for Tallahassee Magazine, I had barely considered parenthood, much less the possibility of being the mother of a special needs child.

Five years later, I look back on the person I was, a person who had never known the joy and heartbreak of motherhood, and it's like thinking about an old acquaintance. That childless me is like a woman I used to know but with whom I no longer have enough in common to even carry on a conversation. She thinks she's busy if she doesn't have time to read a novel a week. She thinks she's tired because she worked out three days in a row. She thinks she understands autism because she interviewed some people and wrote a story for a magazine.

So here I am. That picture in the corner; that's me. I'm happily marching towards 40 with two beautiful kids in tow: an autistic preschooler named Billy and our latest addition, the toddling Willow. A freelance writer for most of my adult life, I stopped full-time work after Billy's birth and am only recently finding myself once again capable of having a complete thought, much less writing one down. Thanks to my brilliant husband and in-house Internet guru, I can share those few thoughts with the world at large.

Our original goal with creating a website and starting a blog was to interact with other parents of autistic children, as well as doctors, therapists and other experts who could help us stay up-to-date on the latest treatment options, research, and creative thinking with regards autism.

Since I've started blogging, we've certainly made a lot more friends in the autism community. But we've also reconnected with friends and even family with whom we'd lost touch, simply because of the constraints of TIME. We embrace your support, suggestions, non-sequiturs – basically, I'm so starved for adult conversation on most days, that I'd take a knock-knock joke.

That being said, I love my life. I've never been happier. And I guess one of the things I wanted to share with anyone who happened to stop by is this: Autism isn't the end. It isn't a cause for mourning, and we aren't a “family dealing with autism.” We're a family. We're happy, loving, and most days are filled with more laughter than anything else. We have joy, we have hope and it just keeps getting better and better.

But if you're here because you're concerned about autism, suspect your child might be affected or need support, I encourage you to check out BILLY'S STORY for our journey and some links and resources that might be of use to you.

Please stick around, make comments and share your stories with us. We need each other. If there's one thing we've learned over the past couple of years, it's that parents have to stick together, build one another up, offer one another support. Because no one will care about our children and understand them better than we do.

Feel free to leave comments on the blog or email me directly at amandabroadfoot@gmail.com. I look forward to getting to know you better!

daveinLA

David Broadfoot

The best thing I ever did was order him off the Internet. He cannot operate the DVR remote control, but he is an absolute genius with websites.

David is from England, so occasionally his comments will be incomprehensible. I will try to translate, because despite having been in this country for more than seven years, he is firmly committed to saying “bin,” “loo,” “lift,” “car boot” and “lorry” (trash can, bathroom, elevator, trunk and truck).

A graduate of Oxford University with a degree in Biology, David is also our resident science expert. He is my in-house BS-meter when some new theory or treatment is suggested for Billy (or some scam artist comes by the house selling magazines for an imaginary cause – but that's a story for another day).

He has a few theories of his own about autism, and will share some of those in guest blogs in the hope that other parents, experts, doctors, therapists out there will either shoot us down, explaining the science behind their reasoning, or suggest other people we can talk to about our ideas.

A full-time web programmer for ThinkCreative Advertising in Tallahassee, Dave is also the person to whom you should direct any technical questions about this website, as I'm completely clueless about that stuff. You can email him at david@thinkcreative.com.

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Billy Broadfoot

Born on July 23, 2006, Billy was our firstborn and the center of our universe, until we added his sister to our orbit. He walked at nine months (and ran two weeks later), said a few words at around 10 months, and then at 14 months, stopped talking altogether.

He was diagnosed as autistic in July of 2009, but by then we already had him in speech and occupational therapy and he was making great progress. He talks almost constantly now – though a lot of it is repetition verbatim of books and movies; he has an amazing memory, a truly remarkable gift for music, and he's one of the funniest people I've ever known in my life.

For more on BILLY'S STORY, CLICK HERE, where we go into more detail about our journey to diagnosis and through therapy, which is ongoing. We are blessed to have Billy, and his amazing brain, in our lives, and his unique perspective on the world has made my world and bigger and brighter place.

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Willow Broadfoot

Nicknamed “WiFi” (Willow Fiona) or “World's Best Baby,” depending on whether she's teething this particular week, our baby girl came into our lives on March 14, 2009. She started smiling at two weeks old and almost never stops.

Her hobbies are cooking strange things in her play kitchen, eating avocados, playing with her dollhouse, and her big brother – not necessarily in that order. She says hundreds of words, demands "I hold it!" of everything from toys to our wallets.

She looks great in pink, shares her brother's love of music, and her birth expanded our hearts and our ability to love that much more.