It Happened to Us

Autism hits home


Chicago Parent Staff


Out and about
Our beautiful baby girl, Candace, was born Sept. 8, 2000. My husband, Robert, nicknamed her Candy because her bright red hair reminded him of red licorice. Everything was fine until, at 6 months old, she started rocking back and forth and flapping her hands. At the doctor’s office, our doctor gave us a strange look I’ll never forget. But when Candy started to talk, count and identify objects, we stopped worrying—until about age 2 when she started losing her words. No one really knew what to do or what was wrong.

Soon after her vaccinations and flu shot she stopped pointing, counting and talking and started walking on her tippy toes, climbing the window ledge and lining things up. A computer search came up with a name for her behavior: autism. We soon discovered there is no cure and not much help available. Illinois is 48th in the country for providing services for children with autism and we had to fight the school district for services. Now in a private school in Northbrook, Candy is starting to communicate with pictures.

After her diagnosis, my husband and I wrote a song titled "Faith, Love & Hope" now being heard all over the country. Autism One offered us an internet-based radio show we named "The Candy Store" for our beautiful 7-year-old to help us reach other parents touched by autism.

By sharing our story, song and radio show (heard at we want other parents to know they are not alone, to tell them never to give up. For a free copy of our song, e-mail us at [email protected].

Sandy Waters, Park Ridge



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