13-year old Bryan’s words written by Cyndi Frisch, Bryan’s grandma
“Precious little baby boy,
Born with lots of love and joy.
Life’s not always been so fair,
But you’re blessed with those that care.”
That’s the little song my grandma made up and sang to me the day she brought me home; the day I turned seven months old. Grandma didn’t know I would be her forever-little-boy the first time she sang me that song. I thought it was because she felt sorry for me because they took me from a very bad home. I was just a baby; no one had ever shown me love before. I couldn’t see it yet but it was love that really sang those words. My grandma is not a song writer but she does have a beautiful sweet voice and from the first time she sang it to me I knew it would always be my song.
Looking back there were so many things that neither of us knew. But from that moment on grandma and I both learned the real meaning of Love.
I was quiet the day grandma brought me home. I was always quiet. Even at 7 months old I knew things were always better if I didn’t make a sound in the house I lived in. I stayed quiet for the next four years. I held my words even though I knew how to talk. Grandma laughs when she tells people I started speaking in complete sentences the day I decided to speak and I’ve never stopped talking since. Grandma is the only person who will listen to everything I say, no matter how long I talk … even when she is tired. That would make a good ending to my story.
No one really understands what I’m saying except grandma. Grandma is my interpreter to the world – my voice – and she’s helping me write my story.
I was different right from the start. I did nothing when I was supposed to and the things I did do were things my grandma never saw any other child do before. Grandma raised my dad and my aunt, had a home day care at one point, had grandchildren, and then she got me.
When I was young I used to bang my head on the walls and floor hard. It hurt my head but I was frustrated. Noone knew what I wanted. It scared her so much she found help for me so she could understand and help me.
I did a lot of things called therapies to teach both grandma and me how to communicate, including little hand signs that we both could do for the different things I wanted or needed. My head banging stopped. I had therapy to help my hands do things and even therapy to teach me to walk. I still had things that people call meltdowns where I got really out of sorts because I was frustrated and I’m sorry but I hurt my grandma a lot. I don’t know about other kid’s grandmas, but my grandma never hit me or left me in a room for days. She didn’t even yell! Grandma would try and hold me and sing my song to me, over and over until I felt better. Grandma didn’t even yell when I had these meltdowns when she took me to stores. She didn’t know the lights and sounds in these big stores bothered me or why. She just stopped in the middle of the store and sang me my song for as long as it took for her to get me out of the store.
The only time I ever saw grandma get upset was when someone would call me some word that started with an ‘R.’ I don’t know what that word meant … but it sure upset her.
Before I started school they told us why I was the way I am – a word that started with an ‘A.’ I don’t know that word either but grandma always said I didn’t need to worry about it. Grandma really didn’t want me to go to school but there are things called laws that say I have to go whether either one of us liked it or not. I had never even been in day care. Grandma took care of me all the time and she knew everything about me. The school didn’t.
Would the school realize I was a runner? Finally a word I did understand. And I liked to run! How could a school watch me as good as grandma did? I still had meltdowns because I don’t like change and school was a big change. Sometimes I had these meltdowns while I was at school and grandma came to the school to sing me my song to help me. When I got bigger the teachers let her sing me my song on the phone. It always made me feel better. Grandma had a plan to help me at school … other than singing.
Grandma was really good at sewing. She made me this heavy blanket that really helped me feel better when I was under it and helps me sleep. She decided to make me this heavy vest for school so I could feel better there too. Grandma was such a good sewer that no one really knew that the vest had weights in it. She hid them inside by making her own design and all the other kids wanted to wear them too. My grandma helped me so much in school. I have what they told her was a low IQ . . . whatever that is. She went to a lot of meetings about me.
My vest helped me so much that everyone wanted one and the school wanted a bunch of them because it always seemed to help my classmates sit in their chairs longer and stay in a line … very important things in the first grade. Grandma was making so many of these items for people that she had an idea to start her own business making these items.
A Thread Of Magic was the name she chose because she made the blankets and vests with thread and they worked like magic! Grandma was very busy making blankets for people but something was making her sad. I didn’t understand what was wrong, I knew she loved to sew. I have very special hearing though and I heard that grandma was sad because there were/are so many children that need these blankets, but their mom and dad’s just can’t get one for them. They cost too much money. Grandma was giving a lot of blankets to people for free, but it wasn’t enough, so my grandma decided to take all the money she made from selling blankets and use it all to make blankets to give away. Some people thought she was crazy, but I didn’t. Grandma gave a lot of blankets away, but didn’t have enough money to give to everyone so some very special people from a place called, KultureCity.org started helping her so she can give a lot more blankets! So many people now think that she is very special because of this. Grandma says I’m the real hero. Because of me there are a lot of children who now have blankets and even more will.
I don’t know what a hero is but it makes me feel special. As special as when grandma tells me how lucky she is I came to live with her and grandpa. Special because my grandma tells me how much she loves me every day, all day! I used to want a mom really bad but I have a grandma who loves me so much more. I know I’m not retarded, I’m not trouble … and I’m not even autism. I had a rough start in life. I’m slower than most kids. I have trouble with my speech and a lot of people don’t understand what I am saying. I don’t have any friends because people don’t understand and accept who I am.
Most people don’t realize I still do a lot of thinking in my world and I am afraid that my grandparents will die because they are older, and then who’s hero will I be? Who will cut the crust off my PB & J’s?
My name is Bryan. I’m 13. I have my own special song that my grandma will sing anywhere, anytime just to make me feel better. I’m grandma’s special boy and I have autism and that’s not a bad thing!
Cyndi Frisch is raising her 13-year old autistic grandson Bryan. Bryan struggles in school with misunderstandings about his autism. Cyndi says “when it comes to academics Bryan is very far behind. When it comes to life he’s very smart. He has a lot of empathy for others … almost too much at times. He will walk up to you and shake your hand and introduce himself but is very frustrated when you don’t understand him.”
Cyndi says Bryan has taught her and her husband about love. Bryan ends every day with, “This has been the best day ever!” Bryan has other medical issues and spends a lot of time in and out of the hospital. Even after having an NG tube put in, requiring four men to hold him down, at the end of the day it was still “the best day ever.”
Cyndi has a FB page A Thread of Magic. She makes blankets with thread and weighted vests to help Autistic people. The weighted products help a variety of children with disabilities to calm and to sleep, especially children with autism who often have so much trouble with sleep. The weighting is hidden inside and others can not tell that it is a weighted product. She uses small pellets so that it doesn’t hurt the child if they roll on them. In the last seven months of 2104, she made and donated 202 blankets to families in need. Kulturecity started helping her in September. Kulturecity is a nonprofit that advertises and supports projects which help Autistic people. It relies on donations from the public. Cyndi made over 300 blankets in 2014.
Here’s an excerpt from the article in the newspaper about Bryan’s gift of a ride in a police car for Christmas.
When Cheshire asked what he wanted for Christmas, McDonough said he wanted a ride in a police car.
“You don’t want any presents?” Cheshire asked.
“Other kids need presents,” McDonough responded.