Valdosta Daily Times

January 27, 2014

Battling autism

Mother helps son defeat difficulties

Desiree Murphy
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — Ten years ago, Adriana Galindo gave birth to a healthy baby boy whom she named Elias Meza. The first few months of his life were spent developing normally as he exhibited all of the typical infant communicative and behavioral steps.

However, Galindo soon noticed that he seemed to be regressing. His attempts at beginning to speak ceased and he soon quit holding eye contact. Concerned, she traveled to a physician for a diagnosis. It was originally thought that she was simply an overreacting mother, but through persistent seeking, Elias was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at the age of 2.

The diagnosis threw the life of Adriana Galindo into a spiral. All former plans of going to law school fell to the wayside as she pursued the best options for her son. Studying everything about this disorder, she soon found all the therapy options for her son. He began with occupational therapy and she became trained in Applied Behavioral Analysis. This allowed her to not only better work with her son, but to also help other children in his situation.

Now 10 years old, the boy whom they thought may never be able to speak can spout out numerous facts about whales, the scientific names of a variety of dinosaurs, and even list all of the notable characters from old Godzilla movies. He is also an avid reader. He enjoys trips to the local library so he can further study the topics that interest him, like dinosaurs, and aspires to be a paleontologist.

He is also a Webelo in the local Cub Scout Troop 440 under the leadership of Cub Master Tom Clark. Elias enjoys all of the fun and camaraderie of Cub Scouts and earns all of the badges, belt loops and academic pins.

It was for one of these badges that he wrote a report about a topic that concerned him, which he sent to The Valdosta Daily Times. Elias wrote about pollution.

Elias keeps busy through numerous activities to help his developmental skills and meet other people.

“It’s good for him and other kids to get to know each other,” says Galindo.

She describes autism as children being trapped in their own world and people have to work to enter into their world. He attends sessions at More Than Words Pediatric Therapy to help further his ever-growing conversational skills and he is a student at Hahira Elementary School.

With a puzzle piece tattooed on her wrist, Adriana Galindo represents just one of the many mothers that will continue their fight for acceptance and understanding of their children until all of the pieces fit together.