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Welcome to the Secret World of Autism

Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child.  Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier.

Hearing Aid Fitting

By Kate Swenson / November 30, 2013 /

I remember the day that Cooper got his hearing aids so well. I felt sick to my stomach. I want to try and put into words how I felt. First, I didn’t believe that he needed them. I just couldn’t see it. And trust me, I tried. I tried because a hearing loss would explain why he wasn’t talking. Simple, right. He can’t hear so he can’t talk. Get the hearing aids and he will start talking. Since I am obsessed with research and information, I started googling. I scoured…

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Cooper at 2 1/2 years

By Kate Swenson / November 30, 2013 /

Around the time that Cooper was diagnosed with his hearing loss, many of his ‘behaviors’ came on strong. I would like to add that we didn’t know any different. Meaning, we knew that Cooper was A LOT of work but we didn’t know how much work he was compared to other kids. All of my friends have little girls. Fast talking, sweet, sociable, easy little girls. Their kids do art projects and activities and my son was so different. But I held onto the fact that they were girls and…

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Tell Me This Is Going To Be Okay?

By Kate Swenson / November 29, 2013 /

At so many times during this journey with Cooper I have wanted someone to tell me what to do. Tell me if I am doing the right thing. Am I giving Cooper the best medical care? Should I be doing more? Why is it so hard to raise him? Why is he so difficult? Will he ever talk? Will he ever be able to say Mom? Or I love you? Being a mom is the hardest thing I have ever done. I am completely and utterly responsible for this little…

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You're Telling Me Cooper Will Never Hear A Bird Chirp?

By Kate Swenson / November 29, 2013 /

The day of Cooper’s tube surgery (Wednesday), the audiologist promised that she would call us back. She never did. I called and left her a message. She finally called me back on Thursday afternoon and asked us to come in on Friday and we could talk more. One important thing to note is that Dr. Alice told me in this conversation that our information had been shared with the school district, the county and the state. I felt weird when she told me that. I asked if it was a…

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Tubes Changed Cooper's Life

By Kate Swenson / November 26, 2013 /

So I’ll tell you a few things before I talk about the hearing aids. Cooper came out of surgery mad as hell. Gosh that kid is a fighter. He had an IV and was super distraught. We literally took his gown off, threw a t-shirt on him and took him home. We wanted to be home. We were tired. And overhwhelemed. And so freaking scared that we couldn’t think. On the ride home I kept saying, “he’s going to get teased. I’m not doing it. I’m not putting him in…

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Tube Surgery From Hell

By Kate Swenson / November 26, 2013 /

So that title might be a little extreme. But Cooper’s tube surgery was one of the worst experiences of my life. First, the days before the surgery, Cooper stopped sleeping. He stopped playing with his toys. He stopped interacting. He turned into a complete crying, whiny mess. He was a different kid. The only thing he would do was watch cartoons on PBS. I would try and get him to set up his train or read or engage him in activities that he liked and it wouldn’t work. My husband…

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And Then There Were Four

By Kate Swenson / November 26, 2013 /

In January 2013, our second son was born. Sawyer came into this world happy smiling and learning. He is so different than Cooper. He slept all the time. Thank God. I don’t think I could have handled two babies not sleeping. He loved to nurse and eat. Even now at 10 months he is an amazing eater. And most importantly, Sawyer is babbling. I didn’t know how emotional it would be for me the first time he babbled mama and dada. I wish I could describe how I felt. First,…

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Everybody Talks

By Kate Swenson / November 26, 2013 /

I call my mother crying all the time about Cooper. I can’t accept that he doesn’t talk. I can’t accept that he might not talk. Why do I have to have a son that doesn’t talk? My mother always tells me the same thing…”Everybody talks Katie. How many people do you really, honestly know that don’t talk?” And she’s right. I know she’s right. Cooper is smart and bright and happy. He IS going to talk. Right? No one can tell us one way or another if he will or…

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The Beginning-Part 3

By Kate Swenson / November 26, 2013 /

At this point Cooper was 2. It was really apparent that Cooper wasn’t babbling. He communicated but in his own way. If he wanted something he would grab our hand and bring us to it or just point. And this is also when the whining started. The whining is the hardest part for my husband and I. We get so exhausted. To help you understand, imagine a child that  can only say vowels and everything is a constant high pitched vowel. It started to get really hard for us to…

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The Beginning-Part 2

By Kate Swenson / November 25, 2013 /

The Help Me Grow (HMG) program came to our house when Cooper was 14 months or so. Everything with Cooper seemed right on track except for the language. As I said earlier, I wasn’t all that comfortable with this whole process. I guess I was scared and sad. I will never forget one part of the evaluation. The teacher asked us what Cooper liked to do. I responded with, ‘play ball, read books, play with trucks.’ She immediately cut me off and said, “WHAT DOES HE DO WITH THE TRUCKS?” And…

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