ABOUT US

Do you feel stressed, overwhelmed and frustrated about your child’s autism? Autism Lighthouse Contains many tips that can make life easier for your whole family!

Meet Connie Howse

My name is Connie Howse. My son, Scott, had every behavior
I listed, and many more. In 1986, when he was diagnosed at
2 ½, autism was rare. Few people had ever heard of it, and
even fewer knew how to treat it.

After he was diagnosed, every day was a challenge. He often
spent sixteen of every 24 hours a day screaming. When I
attempted to comfort him with a hug, he screamed because,
unknown to me, something called “tactile defensiveness”
made everything from changing his diaper to hugging him to
even scratching his back or washing his face excruciatingly
painful. Also, his language was limited to just a few words.

Looking for answers, we threw ourselves into researching this mysterious disorder.
Unfortunately, most people were clueless about both the disorder and its treatment. We were basically on our own.
To help Scott, we did everything that had the word “therapy” in it. Music Therapy, Speech therapy, Occupational Therapy, Sensory Integration Therapy, Holding Therapy, Physical Therapy, The SunRise Program, plus almost every vitamin and food supplement that showed any promise. We tried it all! It was basically the shotgun, throw-all-your-weapons-at-the-problem approach. We had no other choice!Finally, after trying many different therapies, enrolling him in 3 different school programs and conducting countless hours of research, we found Burger School for the Autistic, where he began to blossom. We found a gifted college student tutor, a music therapist & an ex-marine that fostered his love of running. It was a program coordinated under the ever-watchful eye of Burger teachers Carol Sheppard and, later, her sister Colleen Presley.

There, he learned to read, develop his social skills & play everything from chess and checkers to the Game of Life. While at Burger, he sang the National Anthem with the school choir at Tiger Stadium for a Detroit Tigers game. He went on trips to Washington D.C., where he saw Tipper Gore (the wife of Vice President Al Gore), Upper Michigan, and Toronto, Ontario where he saw “Phantom of the Opera.”

Finally, we decided he needed a change, to the next level, and pulled him out to do the unthinkable – home school at a tiny little one-room schoolhouse in Novi, Michigan. I’m sure everyone thought we were nuts, and it is not commonly done, but it was one of the best decisions we ever made. Scott completed 2 years of academic work in one year, began running cross-country, competed in checkers tournaments, began piano lessons, and played in a recital.

In Junior High, with continued support, he did well academically, continued playing the piano, and showed a real gift for cross country, winning every race he competed in his eighth grade year and ultimately the city championship.
In high school, he made it through by working harder than everyone else, frequently staying up until midnight or later to work on his math problems. Tutors were frequent visitors to our home, and study hall was his get-it-all-together-before-I-forget-where-I-put-it place.

In college, he joined the cross country team, and actually became their most valuable runner! The national powers-that-be at the junior college level didn’t know what to do with his eligibility, so they let him continue to run. When he got good grades, and actually made Academic All-American, they were really scratching their heads.