Participants: Shelley Quinn (Host), Esther Castillo, Pedro J Acevedo Jr
Series Code: IAA
Program Code: IAA000376
00:30 Hello I'm Shelley Quinn and welcome
00:32 again to Issues and Answers. We're so glad that
00:35 no matter where you live around the world
00:36 that you're joining us today and allowing us
00:38 to bring you a message of encouragement and hope
00:41 and I believe it will be proved to be
00:44 very uplifting to you. Before I tell you
00:46 about today's topic I want to share
00:48 one of my favorite Bible verses with you
00:50 and it comes from Luke 1 in verse 37.
00:53 And let me set the stage; this is when the angel had
00:57 told Mary that she is going to have the Son of God.
01:00 And she is saying how's that going to happen,
01:03 I'm a virgin. How am I going to have the
01:05 Son of God? And he said Holy Spirit
01:08 will over shadow you, God's gonna speak
01:10 this into your life, plant his seed,
01:12 his Holy seed in you. And then the angel tells her,
01:16 for with God nothing is ever impossible.
01:21 Now most Bible translations stop there
01:24 but the Greek actually says and no word from God
01:30 is without power or impossible of fulfillment.
01:33 And I'll tell you what, today we have two special guests
01:37 with us who know that nothing is impossible
01:40 with God and they know that you can count
01:43 on the promises of God. And let me introduce to you
01:47 our very special guests we have Esther Castillo,
01:50 Esther, so glad that you're with us today.
01:52 Thank you so much for the honor of having us here.
01:55 And we, we're delighted, we also have your very special
01:59 and charming son and that is Pedro Acevedo.
02:03 Pedro, welcome. Thank you. You're welcome.
02:06 Now we are going to be talking today about a topic
02:11 that's a difficult topic and its something
02:13 that it's a condition that's on the rise
02:15 in United States and around the world,
02:17 and that's autism. And you know some people
02:20 can go to medical training and become,
02:24 gain expertise through schooling, and some people
02:27 have a little more difficult road to travel,
02:29 they gain their understanding
02:31 and expertise through experience,
02:33 and you have gone down that road.
02:36 Let me start with you Esther,
02:38 what if you could in layman's terms
02:42 explain to us what is autism?
02:46 I would rather kind of read it even though as a mother,
02:52 I could explain to you what is autism in my life.
02:55 I could describe about a disorder
02:58 that really effects the left side of the brain
03:00 which is the center of communication, okay.
03:03 And when a person is impacted with this disorder
03:07 because it responds different,
03:09 no one single person reacts the same way
03:13 but it is described as a complex developmental
03:18 disorder that appears in the first three years
03:21 of life, in Pedro's case was 18 months old,
03:24 one year and half. You know that it is sometimes
03:27 diagnosed much later. It effects
03:31 the brain's development of social
03:33 and communication skills, okay. So once that person,
03:39 that child can't communicate anymore
03:41 it has the tendency to isolate.
03:44 They can understand everything you're saying
03:47 but the fact that they can not communicate to you.
03:50 Yes, I understand what you're saying,
03:53 I wanted to understand that I'm in pain,
03:56 I want you to understand that I realize
03:59 that I am making funny faces
04:00 and you're making fun of me.
04:02 I want you to understand that yes I am aware
04:05 that you're calling me retarded,
04:07 or you're calling me these names,
04:08 or you restraining me because I can not
04:12 explain to you that I am oversensitive
04:14 to all of those your scheme to the fabric
04:18 that I have on. And it does effect,
04:20 I would say not only communication
04:22 and socialization, but it also as effects
04:25 the hearing, sometimes they have hyper-acuity,
04:29 the vision. You stop there, when you say hyper-acuity
04:33 of hearing, what do you mean?
04:34 I mean that they can hear a lot more
04:36 than a normal person. So they've got the ears
04:40 I mean we say like the eyes of the eagle
04:43 and the ears of, dogs have hypersensitivity
04:45 so they can, is this the reason that they often,
04:49 they flap their ears because they,
04:53 if the pitch of your voice they can not tolerate,
04:57 it could cause pain like when your nail,
04:59 you have a nail and you hammer
05:01 the nail inside of the ears so, oh mercy.
05:03 Pedro went through that, we couldn't use
05:06 the vacuum cleaner, we couldn't use the blender.
05:09 If I was driving and Pedro was in the back seat,
05:11 and an 18 wheelers truck was passing by
05:14 and he was in the back seat, he was going to pull
05:16 my hair and yank it just to let me know stop the noise
05:21 of that truck because it's causing me pain, mercy,
05:24 I didn't know those things. So now,
05:28 he was 18-months-old and explain to us
05:33 how you learned about this diagnosis,
05:36 the first 18-months of his life he appeared to be
05:39 absolutely normal and then suddenly something happens,
05:43 how did you learn? Pedro had an ear infection
05:47 and the pain was unbearable.
05:49 The fever started going up and I remember that Sunday
05:52 putting everything suppositories
05:54 and cold compresses and everything to bring
05:57 the fever down, but he didn't responded
06:01 to everything that I was doing, before that may be
06:05 I need to explain to you that my daughter Dina,
06:09 my oldest daughter. Every woman wants to be a mother,
06:13 so I became a mother when I was 31,
06:15 I wanted more to be a mother than being married,
06:17 so I was all excited being married having my baby
06:21 six weeks after she was one day discovered
06:23 that she was born with a complete AV canal,
06:25 she had a hole that was gathered
06:27 in the four chambers of her heart, Oh mercy.
06:29 And she was declared clinically dead,
06:32 three-months old she was in ICU
06:33 having the first surgery. They decided just to close
06:39 the pulmonary artery because every time
06:41 that the heart was closing the blood
06:43 was going into her lungs. Those 35 days that I was
06:46 in the hospital my husband became an alcoholic
06:49 because he couldn't go home and think that two woman
06:52 of my life are not home, so he spend
06:53 those thirty five days and nights across the hospital
06:56 drinking, drinking, drinking. And even though
06:59 he wasn't a believer there were days that the church
07:03 was praying so hard that my daughter
07:05 was anointed today, could just survive
07:08 and there was one night when he had a voice
07:11 that says she will be fine. So he told me don't cry
07:15 anymore, because I was like angry,
07:16 I went to another room because I didn't want
07:18 to see her dying already. And he told me stop crying,
07:22 she will be fine and I am gonna take her,
07:24 I am going to fix that surgery even though
07:26 she didn't have the first surgery
07:28 and I will pay a plastic surgeon
07:30 and it was really a miracle because the surgery
07:33 didn't work and all the blood on the lungs
07:36 went to the heart and I was told by the doctors,
07:39 she won't make it. And I said the God
07:41 that I believe in and I ask him to take her,
07:43 if she is going to a shame her. And I promise Him
07:48 to give him my life on the exchange of my baby.
07:50 And if she didn't die with all the morphine
07:54 that you gave her and if she didn't die
07:56 with this first surgery that six girls die
07:59 with the same surgery the same night my daughter
08:01 was the only survivor. She is not going to die now;
08:04 you said that the surgery didn't work.
08:06 So I took my baby home after about ten hours
08:09 of fighting, they told me if she doesn't gain two ounces
08:12 in two days, we are going to keep her baby with us
08:15 because she is going to die. She has anorexia
08:17 and she is losing too much weight.
08:19 The church went into pray and my daughter
08:22 gained the two ounces, and eventually
08:24 at four months old, she decided to drink
08:26 milk again. Praise God, when Pedro is sick
08:29 my husband was really a very
08:32 deep, deep, deep alcoholic. So that they he was,
08:35 first let me ask you what is your daughter's name?
08:37 My daughter's name is Dina, so Dina is how much older?
08:41 She is now 24, oh she is two years
08:44 and half older than Pedro. Two and half years older
08:47 than Pedro, so when he is a year and half
08:50 then she is 4-years-old and now she has miraculously,
08:56 God has proven his promise to your husband
08:59 and what you husband shared with you.
09:01 Dina is a healthy child now at 4-years-old, okay.
09:06 Now you though have a husband who is walking
09:09 the pathway of alcoholism how did he respond
09:13 when he got the diagnosis of Pedro.
09:16 Well, I would say that he was on denial, okay,
09:20 because English was his primary languages.
09:22 He was raised in New York since he was five.
09:25 English was not my primary language, so that night
09:30 as I said that my son had the high fever,
09:32 my husband for several days was not home.
09:34 And here I am, I don't have any car,
09:37 I don't have any telephone,
09:38 I cannot even call an ambulance
09:39 and my baby is dying on my hands with this high fever,
09:43 I just kneel down with Dina and I pray and the pastor
09:45 who was preaching said Esther
09:46 is not here with the children.
09:48 Get out of the pulpit Elder and go and check
09:51 and see what is happening to Esther.
09:53 And I praise the Lord because my brother-in-law
09:56 who was an Elder came to my apartment,
09:59 Pedro was almost dying. So he took us to the hospital
10:02 they sat him on ice when he entered the hospital
10:06 I could say, say mommy, he was going to say mommy;
10:09 but then after they put his body on ice
10:12 I could say Pedro say mommy and he went,
10:16 I took a child to the hospital,
10:19 I came out of the hospital with a different child.
10:21 I lost my first baby that day at the hospital.
10:25 So after that he had no voice whatsoever, really?
10:29 He went back to probably four months
10:33 of communication and he started to laugh
10:38 in the middle of the night to wake us up,
10:40 to rip off his clothes,
10:41 there was no more eye contact.
10:44 And he went like to a word of his own.
10:48 And I know that something was happening to my baby,
10:51 but my husband just told me you are overprotecting him,
10:54 there is nothing wrong. We couldn't have the diagnosis
10:57 until he was four. But before he was four,
11:01 I was begging the pediatrician to please
11:03 let me know what was wrong with my baby?
11:05 And he told me we need to wait for Dina's
11:08 second big heart surgery. Now that she is four,
11:12 if she survived the fixing of her heart
11:14 then we will go over Pedrito and find out
11:18 what is wrong with your son, why'd he cannot speak
11:20 even though he is 2-years-old already, mercy.
11:24 So what was your life changed so much
11:29 then because you've got this beautiful baby boy
11:32 and you've got some pictures of Pedro
11:34 don't you? Let's look at those pictures now
11:37 because he was such a little darling okay, so.
11:40 This is Pedro when he was four months before
11:44 he became autistic; this is the way
11:47 I brought my family from New York.
11:49 We were a complete family; Dina was three,
11:52 he was one and two months old.
11:55 A child that sung with the heritage singers,
11:59 a child that walked when he was 11 months
12:02 and a child that was just so into his cradle at
12:06 Sabbath school and praising the Lord,
12:10 then, he is a darling, yes. Here it is when he was,
12:16 how old were you here Pedro, three.
12:18 When he was 3-years-old with his Daddy,
12:20 he was autistic already, okay, and you could see
12:24 that he is his daddy Frank. So, he is Pedro Junior,
12:27 yes, on that birthday he was freely over stimulated
12:31 because it was too stimulating for him
12:34 with the noises of his birthday, beautiful child.
12:37 In this one was the day when I drop him
12:40 at his first early intervention program.
12:43 They use this star as his report card
12:46 and I was in tears to leave him at his first school
12:50 where he was going to have all of his speech
12:52 and language therapy, occupational therapy
12:54 but he was happy, he was happy there and I praise
13:00 the Lord that I decided to go for early intervention
13:03 because it was a teacher who decided to search
13:06 for the diagnosis for my son. Praise God,
13:09 so though you knew something was wrong
13:12 at 18 months, you didn't know it was autism?
13:16 That's correct, when you found out it was autism
13:20 were you familiar? Had you already gotten
13:22 your bachelor degree, where you already educated
13:24 so you went school then later
13:25 and got your master's degrees even in
13:27 behavior science and education.
13:30 But let's back up, so you knew that Pedro
13:35 something it happened, he quit communicating
13:37 and now he is 4-years-old and he is in school
13:41 and someone comes and tells you he is autistic,
13:44 did you know what that was? That's an excellent question,
13:49 because being that, English is not my primary language,
13:52 yes, when Dina made it through her surgery
13:58 and his pediatrician has no clue what was autism
14:02 all about, so he says I know something is wrong
14:04 with Pedro but let me just look for somebody else,
14:06 give me referral to a neurologist,
14:09 because he referred him for a special language
14:12 evaluation, they found though that he wasn't deaf
14:15 that he could hear perfectly.
14:17 So that was when they realize
14:19 that he was something that have to go with the brain,
14:21 but the special language pathologist
14:25 didn't want to scare me, she didn't want to tell me
14:27 something really, really wrong is happening.
14:31 So when I take him to the neurologist,
14:33 and neurologist told my husband he has an autistic
14:36 like behavior, and my husband kind of understood
14:39 but I was asking my husband what is that;
14:42 autistic like, what is that?
14:43 So still my husband is telling me, he is okay,
14:47 he is fine. So he really was in denial,
14:50 he was in denial and because of my
14:52 language barrier I couldn't find words to explain
14:56 what was wrong with my son? So I would say that
14:58 we wasted two years and a half looking at my son,
15:02 ripping off clothes. In the mean time I'm taking him
15:05 to camp meetings to see the people out of ignorance
15:08 with the good faith anointing him
15:10 to cast the devil away from my baby, oh bless you.
15:13 At the church, I could see that
15:14 they are gonna taking him to the bathroom to whip him
15:17 with the belts because he was very irreverent
15:19 being two years old and he was all the noises
15:21 that he was making like a little animal.
15:23 So, many things happened and I didn't have words
15:28 to explain my son's behavior.
15:30 Now when I pay attention to this speech
15:33 and language pathologist and take him
15:34 to the early intervention program when he was four
15:38 the public school said no we can not pay
15:41 at private school bring him over to the public school.
15:43 And one day he was crying with tears
15:46 that was another thing he didn't cry with tears,
15:48 he could made the faces with tears didn't come out
15:50 of his eyes, okay, but he is crying with tears
15:52 completely mute and the teacher looked at him
15:55 and said I need to call Boston
15:57 because we were in the city of New Bedford,
15:59 and get a developmental psychologist to come
16:01 and observe this child. And the developmental
16:04 psychologist went to the classroom
16:06 then came to my house. And Friday, my husband told me,
16:11 I've been given a diagnosis,
16:14 you were right something was wrong with me.
16:17 Three years after we got married I was HIV Positive.
16:21 Okay now, wow! You were throwing in another,
16:24 so I thought you were saying that your husband
16:26 was going to say yes, we've got the diagnosis for Pedro
16:30 but your husband was also having some symptoms
16:34 and now he goes to the doctor and comes
16:37 and tells you, you're right there is something wrong
16:41 with me your husband, I'm HIV positive, yes.
16:45 Five days after and I am saying this,
16:47 so that you could understand how heavy
16:50 was the impact of Pedro's diagnosis, okay.
16:53 Friday my husband telling me
16:54 I've been given six months to live, six months to live,
16:58 six months to live and on Tuesday, Saturday,
17:00 Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, four days
17:02 after my son's developmental psychologist
17:06 come home and tell me I have a news to give you.
17:10 Your son has a long life developmental disability
17:13 that has no cure. At that moment,
17:15 I was pinching myself, thinking am I alive,
17:19 the two big love of my life my husband
17:22 and my baby are about to go, oh mercy.
17:28 And my husband after that, that he was confronted
17:33 with you have six months to live,
17:35 he decided to kind of having an abusive,
17:38 you know relationship and kind of give Pedro
17:42 and I and my daughter the love
17:43 that we really needed so much. Esther,
17:46 how did you cope with this? Okay your husband,
17:50 you see a behavioral change in your husband
17:52 and he becomes more loving and you are looking at him
17:58 thinking he is going in six months,
17:59 your concern must be devastated thinking
18:03 your beautiful baby boy has got a long term,
18:07 life long developmental disorder,
18:11 how did you cope with this? On my knees, Amen,
18:15 what a great answer, what a great answer, on my knees,
18:18 yes alright. You'd been married eight years,
18:21 I think you've mentioned to me earlier, eight years
18:25 when your husband first got the diagnosis
18:28 he was HIV positive, before we get married, okay
18:33 and he didn't know, we didn't know.
18:34 He was actually HIV positive
18:36 before you married, before, three years before
18:38 we got married. Alright, but now you've been married
18:40 eight years, did you, did he survive longer
18:45 than the six months that the doctors said?
18:48 How long did he survive? Seven more years,
18:51 seven more years and how was that?
18:54 Well he decided to change his lifestyle,
18:56 he became vegetarian. We went to an
19:01 alternative treatment clinic. You know with ozone
19:05 treatment and I always treated him
19:08 like the cane of my life, I never denied him
19:11 of anything because of his diagnosis.
19:14 I encouraging him to go back to school
19:17 and to help me that was when he finally got out
19:20 of the self denial and decided to join forces
19:23 with me who did not know the language
19:26 to go to the school meetings to see how I was being molt
19:30 because my language was so, my accent was so heavy
19:33 that when I was saying, I need help for my baby.
19:36 He is not stupid, he is not a profoundly retarded,
19:39 please you know read, I am enrolled now
19:42 in the Autism Society of America
19:44 and I begged my husband let me go back to school please,
19:47 because he told me you have Dina to take care of.
19:50 Dina was the princess, the baby, and one of things
19:54 that you will read in this book
19:56 that says on your our words was how she cry
19:58 because the day when Pedro was born my husband
20:01 so much into alcoholism that he didn't buy
20:03 a crib for Pedro. So I have to prepare Dina's crib
20:07 and Dina almost killed him with throwing toys
20:09 to that little boy and that was on her crib, yes.
20:12 She didn't understand that he was that,
20:14 I needed to be faithful to my husband and make him
20:17 feel is over with Jesus power.
20:20 You don't need alcoholism, Dina is here,
20:22 the miracle has been done. So it was hard for him
20:27 but he finally, when he realized
20:29 that he was gonna die he decided to,
20:31 not to us said the Lord immediately
20:33 but to pay for a Christian education for my daughter
20:36 to let us finally have family worship with all,
20:39 following those turn into television on.
20:41 They are not going to sing one day at the time,
20:44 praise God, praise God you know and he let me go back
20:48 to school to learn and that was when Pedro
20:52 was my inspiration for me to get my bachelor's degree
20:55 in psychology and we became involving the community,
20:59 I adopted 24 families who didn't speak English
21:02 to let them know about the resources that were there
21:05 and going to meetings with him
21:07 and fighting for the raise of their children. Amen.
21:10 How was life different for you before
21:13 and after autism? Before I would say that
21:16 we were a happy family, even though my husband
21:19 was struggling with alcoholism but Pedro
21:22 was enjoying at home, I mean he was born
21:25 with 10 pounds and 11 ounces, eating like a bird,
21:28 he still eats like that today. But he brought us
21:31 so much peace, you know and he four of us together,
21:34 it was just awesome. Then having my son's diagnosis
21:39 and my husband's diagnosis together,
21:41 it was like leaving one day at the time
21:43 and thinking what can I do to rescue my husband
21:47 and my son. And it must have been so
21:50 terribly frustrating when you recognized
21:52 and started studying on autism that this is a child
21:56 whose understanding you and his frustration,
21:59 his behavioral outburst are because he just can't
22:05 communicate with you and he is so frustrated
22:07 and to try to reach him must have been a very,
22:10 I mean that was a driving factor and he wasn't.
22:15 Now you know I am looking at her time,
22:18 and we have so little time left, you will come back,
22:21 I know we're planning on a second program
22:23 but would you like to talk about
22:26 the types of therapies, do we have time
22:28 and the short time or would you rather reserve
22:30 that for a second program.
22:32 Well I could kind of go over them, in Pedro's case
22:36 the first one that he needed was the speech
22:39 and language therapy with the
22:41 functional pragmatic component, okay.
22:44 And by functional I explain that is not only teaching
22:46 them how to speak. Is teaching them
22:49 how to go to a post office and how to use the language
22:52 to communicate with the real world.
22:54 Pragmatic is the social language
22:55 that he needs to survive in case nobody who loves him
22:59 when he is around them, that's good.
23:00 So his speech and language pathology was on that.
23:02 He also received a auditory integration therapy
23:05 which is the one that desensitize him
23:08 when he was listening to so much noises
23:12 that our voices he couldn't,
23:14 he was covering his ears because the tone
23:17 of our voices. This is the way Pedro used to hear,
23:20 you could see in the top that the sound went all
23:23 the way up from one place to another
23:26 and after ten days this is the way
23:28 they cut off his hearing so that
23:30 he wouldn't be impaired. So they had the,
23:33 this all parts of autism they have,
23:35 the left side of the brain then it's effecting
23:37 their hearing to where they have such auditory acuity
23:43 that is disorder, absolutely torture to him,
23:47 yes, yes and then through therapy
23:48 they were able to help that, that must have
23:51 been a very big blessing. Yes, I know that therapy
23:54 that he needed to was to desensitize his skin
23:57 which we call sensory integration therapy.
24:00 He needed to be taken for a whole year
24:02 to an occupational therapy, so he was certified
24:05 in sensory integration disorder,
24:06 that was when he finally decided not to rip off
24:10 his clothes, because, so that's why
24:12 he was ripping off his clothes, because they feel
24:14 like when you are out on an elevator
24:16 and somebody touching you and you say you shock me,
24:18 yes, they feel that all over their body.
24:21 So it's like that static electricity,
24:23 those little shocks, 24/7 especially when you put
24:26 some type of material or clothes
24:28 and they can't tell you this is driving me nuts,
24:30 so they will take it off. At school the teachers
24:34 didn't know about that, so they used to scratch
24:36 his face and his chest, restraining him
24:38 when he was telling them the sense of your skin
24:41 is driving me nuts, even the scent
24:44 or the tone of the voice of people is like
24:47 they are completely they were around them,
24:49 doesn't make any sense to them and all they can do
24:52 when they can speak use to throw temper tantrums
24:55 and behaviors. And unless they recover from that
24:58 and can speak and say this is why I do what I do?
25:01 They suffer alone, it's not misbehaving
25:04 because they want to, it's because of the reason
25:07 that it's really making them to feel discomfort.
25:09 Well we've got so much more to talk about
25:13 and because we're certainly not going to leave you
25:16 without hope, I told you this is going to be a
25:18 program of encouragement and the encouragement
25:21 is Pedro's now in college and he is communicating
25:25 and God did even though your husband
25:30 did go to his rest, he accepted Christ
25:35 is his savior confessed his sins before he died, Amen.
25:38 So you have the blessed hope
25:40 that you will be reunited with him,
25:42 your daughter Dina is now healthy
25:46 and she is also getting her degree in psychology
25:49 because she wants to help other children
25:52 who are developmentally challenged
25:54 and we've got Pedro who we're going to hear
25:57 from during our second program,
25:59 who is going to college
26:01 and such a delightful young man.
26:03 So God has been good to you and let me ask you,
26:09 just if you could take just a few seconds
26:11 and look in this camera over here
26:13 what would you say to a parent
26:16 who has just received this diagnosis
26:20 for their child of autism? I will tell them
26:24 that with God everything is possible.
26:27 God could conquer language barrier, remember
26:31 that you have your son or your daughter eyes
26:34 and ears, nobody will do it, but you.
26:36 And I said like I did that Cross,
26:38 I say ladder to reach out for always.
26:41 Educate yourself, surround yourself
26:44 with supportive groups and tell your family
26:46 that all you need is their understanding,
26:48 you don't need them to repeat at you
26:50 but to re-understand and then to show love
26:53 for your child because they are really, really make us
26:55 happy when they are loved. Amen.
26:58 And as you said that the cross become a ladder
27:02 to get across to go there and know that, that child,
27:06 this precious child is one that's worth loving
27:10 and worth reaching and you have reached him
27:13 where he can now communicate with you again.
27:15 Esther, thank you so much for sharing today,
27:18 and Pedro we'll give you a chance to talk
27:21 on the next program, how's that. Okay.
27:25 For those of you at home, if you know someone
27:28 who has an autistic child or perhaps
27:31 you have one in your family,
27:33 I would really encourage you to have them
27:38 tune in for this program again next time
27:40 and see how, what hope God can give them
27:45 and you know, Romans 15:13 says,
27:47 Now may the God of hope fill you to overflow
27:50 with joy as you trust him, thank you so much.