Autism and Gina Marie Incandela

When Gina was about 2 years old she was diagnosed with PDD NOS (an autistic spectrum disorder). The pervasive development disorder diagnosis was a result of evaluations sought because Gina could not speak at age 2.

In fact, Gina did not really start speaking words until after age 3. In addition to a speech and language delay, she had many other developmental delays. She did not have age appropriate social skills. She had poor eye contact, sensory issues, and feeding issues among others.

She had difficulty transitioning and did not adapt well to new environments. She was often afraid in public and could not tolerate noisy places such as theme parks or carnivals. She had odd behaviors such as scratching the floors and walls and stacking her toys instead of playing with them. She had no imaginary play skills. When she went to a playground, she showed no interest in other children. She would simply pick up sticks and rocks.

The doctors that diagnosed her were unable to state whether her condition would improve or worsen. They were unable to tell us whether she would ever be able to speak.
Gina’s Story

Gina has worked very hard over the past few years to reach every goal set for her. Now, this beautiful child that once could not speak, has established herself as an up and coming vocal star. She has performed the National Anthem at major events around the Country including the 2008 US Open, NBA, MLB and NHL season games.

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Having worked with autistic children for years, I personally know first hand the indescribable joy when a child made eye contact with me for the very first time. When that child, who had been nonverbal for a long time, or perhaps forever – uttered his first word.

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I learned to love children who seemed to live in their own “autistic world”, completely unresponsive to those around them, including me.

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One precious little girl never uttered a word. Ever.
I was told she was non-verbal and not to bother communicating as she would “never respond to me.”
One day, during trampoline excercise, I began singing..song after song.
Soon after, I heard a little voice, singing along with me…ever so quietly.

Esther sang and sang….and sang.

Do I believe in miracles?
Lord Yes.

By the way…………….
The Magic are now 5-0 in the playoffs whenever Gina Marie sings.
Hmmmm.

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Sharing with Rosemary’s Thoughts, third world county, Dumb Ox Daily News, The World According to Carl , and DragonLady’s World , thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe

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13 Responses to “Autism and Gina Marie Incandela”

  1. MK says:

    Wonderful story Angel.

    The sad thing is that, if they knew that she may be autistic before she was born, these days some people would rather kill her off before she was born.

  2. Stanford Matthews says:

    First, although I have an extensive musical background. You don’t need one to understand how impressive that performane is. Second, along with at least several other ‘conditions’ generally defined as mental challenges, e.g., sevantism, autism, ADD, ADHD, etc., etc., I am of the opinion this is the realm of what we do not understand about the human brain and may be linked to that other idea that we only use a small fraction of its potential even at ‘genius’ level.

    Point being, some who are diagnosed with having some sort of ‘disorder’ in mnay ways demonstrate incredible powers. Some day someone should look into that. :-)

  3. Jackie says:

    You said:

    “I learned to love children who seemed to live in their own “autistic world”, completely unresponsive to those around them, including me.”

    I too have had the experience of learning to love autistic children with their unresponsive behavior. My time with them was very rewarding.

    Very profound, loving and compassionate post, Angel.

  4. nancz says:

    okay – i got goosebumps at 1:15! WHATTAVOICE!

  5. heidianne jackson says:

    she’s incredible. as the aunt of an autistic niece, i hold onto these miracles in the hope that something miraculous will happen for my dear, sweet gabby.

    gina marie’s voice is amazing and she’s one tough little girl. good for her parents to keep opening doors for her.

    as for the magic, i think maybe the lakers had better disallow her singing in the finals… ;)

    go lakers!

  6. Pasadena Closet Conservative says:

    I have a nephew, 12 years old, who is severely autistic. He doesn’t express himself verbally but communicates in other ways.

    The frustrations and sadness of this reality have been coupled with great joys and fun experiences due to the fact that his courageous and dedicated parents — my sister and brother-in-law — have chosen to take the high road and love this child with everything that is in them, and that attitude has rubbed off on the rest of us.

    Thanks for a great post. It made my day, and I shall share it with my family.

  7. Brooke says:

    Just incredible, Angel!

    We mustn’t ever give up on these children. We must do everything in our power to help them unlock the puzzle that is Autism.

  8. KarL M says:

    A feel GREAT story….thank you Angel.
    And another reason to root against the Lakers!!!!
    Magic in 6………….I DO believe in Magic…

  9. Rosemary's Thoughts says:

    Video Jamboree…

    Videos from: IDFnadesk, MachoSauceProduction. (ZoNation), ReasonTV, TheFairReporter, Since33AD and other (so-called) interesting videos. YouTube picked them for me. What a joke. There is news, Christianity, politics, and good stuff. Have a nice day…

  10. Rosemary says:

    Hi lady! How are you? Very nice! ;)

  11. konnie says:

    Autism, Dyslexia, Attention Deficit Disorder are all potential pitfalls when a child doesn’t have proper child development.. I think all families should be wary of this.

  12. radar says:

    You often post the sad-but-truth about current events. I tend to agree with you 99.99% of the time (I am sure there is SOMETHING we disagree about, just haven’t noticed it yet). I truly enjoyed this very positive post, nice to read about good stuff rather than bad stuff now and then.

    We have one son diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. When he was in the Illinois school systems they wanted to separate him out and treat him like a disabled individual. It was stupid and we knew it was counterproductive.

    When moved over to Indiana and he was mainstreamed in school, he began to adjust. We all were just patient with him and did not focus on his quirky behavior. He tended to be a ghost who appeared to grab food and then zipped back up to the sanctuary of his room. But several factors helped:

    1) He went to Sunday School and the very brainy and scientific mindset of his teacher caught his attention, this causing him to occasionally comment in class.

    2) His big brothers would include him in activities and finally got him playing basketball with them. He was terrible at first but with perseverence has become pretty good.

    3) His youth pastor made a connection with him and has helped draw him out.

    4) We went with the flow of his particular fascinations (mechanical operations, skeletal structure, knives and swords) and encouraged him to learn and experiment and allowed him to collect things. He has invented a working switchblade from household objects and stuff laying around in my junk drawers of the garage. He made a Rube Goldbergian contraption that allowed him to switch off the overhead light from his bed.

    5) He is a high honor roll student with no less than a “B” in any subject.

    Now he comes out among the rest of us. His laptop is set up in the family room downstairs, where he has his own desk. He initiates conversations sometimes and not just because he is asking for something. Last week another teenager actually came to the door to ask him to come out and play basketball even without his brothers!

    Lucky for him, he is a good-looking kid and girls like him. He has been raised in a Christ-centered home and has decided not to even date until he has graduated high school because he figures there is no reason to date until he gets close to being trained for his career. Actually all three of my sons are holding off dating for now…the other two are in college. Both my college boys tried dating but then saw that things could not go very far with that without changing priorities so they are focused on their college degrees.
    At any rate, with love and patience and an opportunity to be considered normal, he has in fact become quite able to exist in the normal world.

  13. Bruce G. Larson says:

    Gina’s story is an amazing one and we took the time to meet with her to discuss her new project at http://www.examiner.com/x-25075-Orlando-Charity-Examiner~y2009m10d1-Gina-Marie-Incandela–Telling-her-own-story-through-music