Autistic Child, A Beautiful Son - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Autistic Child, A Beautiful Son

Julieanne King Julieanne King
Don King Don King

By Darren Pai

LANIKAI (KHNL) - Like any six year old, Beau King needs to learn his numbers. But his drills at home are about more than just math.

Beau is autistic. The disorder disrupts his ability to communicate. After three years of therapy, he's still working on things like eye contact.

"When we started he was in diapers, and he wouldn't sit down, he wouldn't listen to anyone," said Julianne King, Beau's father.

As a toddler, Beau seemed to develop normally. Then he regressed. A diagnosis of autism followed..

"It really shatters your dreams for your child. In the past, autism was thought of as a lifelong disorder," said Don King, Beau's father.

Don and Julianne King started filming a documentary about their son's struggle, knowing other families face the same challenge.

"Right away Julianne and I felt like we needed to make a film about this to show people what's going on," Don said. "How common autism has become and to look into whether its treatable."

As they learned more about their son's disorder, the Kings discovered they are not alone. Recent studies show one in every 166 children suffers from autism.

"Making the film was like a learning process for us," Don said. "We got to interview some of the top experts in the country."

By interviewing experts, the Kings learned of different treatments for autism. Behavior therapy made a difference for beau.

"I used to really hang on to every little bit of progress beau made and get super excited about it," Don said. "I've seen so many ups and downs now with him that I realize that some of the gains may be temporary."

A family meal is now a treasured moment. The Kings have learned not to take anything for granted.

"We wake up in the morning and I say Beau go get dressed and he can get dressed on his own," Julianne said. "For most people that's such a simple thing they don't even take that into account, for us it's huge."

During trips to beach, Beau becomes just like any other kid and gives his parents hope for the future.

"He loves the water, he loves to play in the water and it is, it's a relief for him," Julianne said.

For now, the Kings keep working with Beau and hope for the best.

"There are treatments for autism," Don said. "We don't know enough yet about what treatments are going to work for what kids, but some kids are getting a lot better."