|Name||Mark Drew Boswell Jr.|
|Parents||Eva and Mark Boswell|
Mark Drew Boswell Jr was born three weeks late and was delivered with forceps after 10 hours of hard labor. Mark was delivered at an Air Force Base in Arkansas. There, the doctors and nurses do not believe a baby is a person till they have lived outside the womb for three days. Therefore, the treatment was rough and insensitive.
Mark delivered at 5 lbs 12 ozs and had bruises all over his head due to the forceps. He did not have the ability to suck and therefore was difficult to feed. His eyes were runny and his breathing seemed labored from the first time I held him. The blood work was done and 20 days later the Trisomy 10 diagnosis was delivered with the advice to just leave Mark at a research base and forget him because he was going to die before he was a year old. Only 21 cases of this abnormality had been reported by 1981. None of the cases had survived a life span of 8 years old. We were told that Mark would not have a mind of his own but would rather immitate (such as a dog learning to do tricks just to please his master)
The doctor said that if we didn't give Mark up, we should stay in the service because "his medical problems would be enough to break a rich person". Besides cry, what do you do? Pray!!!! My husband told the doctor that we were taking our baby home and we were going to put Mark in God's hands. Mark was tiny and grew slowly. He was very curious and could roll himself around to get where he wanted to go. Soon (approx 10 months) Mark was pushing step stools in front of him and walking to get where he wanted to go, including the top of the washing machine which he liked to sit on.
Mark's development was sporatic in that some places he excelled and others he was deficient. At that time, autism had not been known about, yet I saw a movie about a little boy with autism and discovered Mark had alot of similarities. No doctor at any time ever diagnosed autism. Mark seemed to hear at times and not at other times. He self-stimmed a lot. I was looking for answers and found them in some of the oddest ways. Example, when I would ask myself why Mark was doing a certain thing, suddenly, I would "experience" what Mark was seeing, feeling, or hearing (or not hearing as it may be).
Today, Mark will be 20 years old on September 20 and he has not had medical surgeries other that tubes in his ears three times. He did seem to have airborne allergies during the season changes, ear infections, bronchitus, pneumonia, headaches, and common colds and sinus infections which prompted severe nose bleeds frequently. He does have a kiaphosis which was braced for approximately one year, but it continued to worsen. He still toes in. Small eyes, small ear canals, lower ears, etc.
A cat-scan of his ears indicates that Mark has a conductive hearing loss. The doctor said that she could not stuff enough cotton in my ear to eliminate what Mark was NOT hearing. The reason she gave for his response to our verbal cues or commands was that he must be reading our lips or body language. As Marks back was to me I called him over to thank the nice doctor for talking to us to which he turned around, walked back to me and signed "thank you". The doctor is stumped!
Mark has had hearing aids, but functions well without them now. The biggest frustration was communication as Mark has been non verbal. We knew he wanted to tell us stuff but was not capable of verbalizing. I started teaching Mark and myself sign language and then fought with the school to incorporate sign language in the classroom. At the end of two years, Mark had a 200 word or more vocabulary.
Mark has a wonderful sense of humor and when people expect from Mark, just as any child, Mark produces. He still has retardation yet is continuing to grow in communication. He uses a communication board which has been programmed for his specific uses. Mark has been independently exploring his communication board and though he has only had it about 2 months, missed it tremendously when it was not working recently. He also still uses sign language. His laugh is contageous and we have considered boxing it up for retail purposes 🙂 His 18 year old brother has just left for college and he already misses him. His brothers treat Mark like any other person and tease him. Mark loves it!
We have changed things nutritionally for Mark and in the last two years, Mark has not had any medications for any of the above problems. Not even an aspirin. We have protectively fought to have Mark included in life and have found there is not any place we ever go where Mark does not have at least one friend. Truly Mark is blessed.