Kieran’s smile says miles! At the age of 21, Kieran Pothier is a remarkable young man with many wonderful traits and funny quirks!! Kieran was a mystery to us from the day he arrived by emergency C-section. As the years went by, the Pediatrician was always puzzled by Kierans slow development and his autistic behaviors, however he always laughed at his sense of humor. He would say “Kieran is such a puzzle”, and we would all agreed. When he was young, he had been sent for genetic testing. Three rounds of genetic testing over 15 years revealed nothing to explain why he seemed so “different” than other individuals his age. Kieran was always in the 1st percentile for weight and height for most of his life. He was also diagnosed with autism at the age of 2 years old.
Here is a list of Kieran’s Milestones as best as I can remember: Sat up unassisted at 5 months, walked at 2 years old, talking more than one word at 4 years old, downhill skiing at 9 years old, rode a bike 10 years old, swam unassisted in deep water 11 years old, cross country 15 years old, and mastering toileting was a slow process but eventually he did learn. He is now a superstar at the dentist and currently has braces.
It was not until he was 17 years old, that we found the missing piece of Kieran’s puzzle. The FOXP1 diagnosis came as a relief, but also raised a lot of questions. Our genetics team was as surprised and excited as we were to receive his genetic test results. It was due to the advances in genetic testing that FOXP1 was discovered.
Kieran has always had a love for music. In his younger years, it was Veggie Tales, Fred Penner and Raffi on his CD player. As he has matured so has his taste in music. He listens to all age-appropriate music and often a new favorite will be on repeat for the ENTIRE day!! However, Kieran has no interest in learning an instrument. Kieran enjoys spending time with his family, whether it is working on Lego projects with his brother and uncle or puzzles with his mom! He enjoys board games with his sisters and especially loves online gaming with his friends and siblings. Kieran has had many successful solo flights across Ontario with only minimal assistants to depart and board at the gate. He enjoys vacationing with his Grandma at the family cottage and his dad on his farm. Kieran’s summer outdoor pursuits include fishing, bike riding, camping, and he can always be seen leading our mountain hikes with his headphones on! In the winter Kieran participates on two of the Alberta Special Olympics team, bowling and cross country skiing.
Since entering the school system Kieran was provided with one on one support within a regular classroom. I had him repeat grade one as it was recommended by the teacher. From grade 7-12, he was in a Learning Lifestyles class where he worked on life skills such as cooking, money concepts, social stories, personal hygiene and other important life skills. Within this program, he participated in work experience opportunities by volunteering at the local water depot and food bank.
Currently in the year 2021 Kieran attends an adult day program three times a week. Our ultimate goal for Kieran is for him to obtain a part time job or volunteer position within our community, as well as living in a home with a supportive roommate.
The FOXP1 diagnosis has allowed us to accept Kieran for who he is. Our biggest challenge has been his speech. His receptive language is very good but his ability to communicate his needs and thoughts can sometimes be challenging for others to decipher. His unconditional love and his “happy go lucky” demeanor are what makes him so loveable. Lastly, Kieran’s smile has won over many teachers and will brighten up anyone’s day!!