In his 21 years in this world, Kerry and Robert Bloch’s son, David, has never spoken a word. Being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder when he was 4 years old, he has never been verbal – until last week.
21 years ago, Kerry was told by doctors that she would never be able to conceive. But life is full of surprises as they say, and when Kerry turned 40, she finally gave birth to her one and only child.
While he was growing up, David seemed like a normal child. The family of three was living a regular life until David began showing severe signs of autism spectrum disorder when he was around 4 years old.
“He was fine and then he just kind of lost it all,” Kerry told BuzzFeed News.
David lost his ability to speak. If he should talk, it would only be in single words and only during the times when he is prompted. Days could go by without a single word ever coming out of David’s lips.
“My husband and I, we don’t really know what happened,” she said, “and honestly we don’t care what happened. It’s water under the bridge and we’re just moving forward and trying to give him the best life possible. That’s all that matters.”
David also developed a severe immunodeficiency disorder, which meant that he had to be kept away from the other children in their Neptune Beach, Florida, residence so that he wouldn’t get infected. Having lived a life of isolation, Kerry became David’s full-time caregiver and best friend.
Kerry understands how heartbreaking it must be for David not to be able to cultivate relationships with other people.
“He wants friends badly. He’s home-schooled, and it’s just the three of us,” she said. “I know he’s lonely and he wants friends.”
One of David’s pastimes is watching television, and there is one in particular that became his favorite – the Jacksonville Jaguars. In fact, he loved to watch their games over and over again.
A few weeks ago, David surprised his mother by telling her: “I love Jaguars.”
“It was David’s first spontaneous sentence,” Kerry recalled. “We’ve never had a conversation. I mean, no spontaneous speech at all until he said he liked the Jaguars.”
But just when his parents thought that they would have to wait long before David speaks again, he surprised them both last week.
For the first time, David asked his mother a question: “Would someone like me?”
Kerry wanted to rejoice at the thought of his son articulating a question for the first time in his life, but it broke her heart knowing that it stemmed from the loneliness he was feeling. For David to doubt himself was shattering for Kerry.
“I had to go off and cry when he didn’t see me because it’s just kind of bittersweet that he’s trapped in there,” she said. “He does want to be liked, and he does want friends, and he doesn’t know how to make them.”
Kerry explained to David that the people who loved him also liked him – including herself, Robert, his late grandmother, God, and Jesus.
“And I said, ‘I’m sure anybody that met you would like you,’” she added.
Kerry shared David’s question on her Twitter account, and she was astonished at how much it blew up!
Thousands of people have been retweeting and responding to Kerry’s tweet. People from all over the world began sending her and David messages of love and encouragement, making them feel less alone in their battle.
Among those who responded to her tweet was David’s favorite team, the Jacksonville Jaguars!
“You have a whole team that likes you and is a fan of you, David!” the team wrote in the tweet. “We’re honored to be your favorite team.”
Some of the responses came from other parents of children with autism spectrum disorder.
“It’s mind-boggling. I’m overwhelmed,” Kerry said about the overwhelming response to her tweet. “David and I stayed up all night last night. All we did was stay on Twitter and I would read every tweet to him. I would show him the responses, the little GIFs, the pictures people were sending. He didn’t answer much, but he would say ‘pretty’ and ‘nice.’ You could see him just smiling. I’ve never seen him smile so much in my life.”
As his way of thanking everyone, David wrote a message of appreciation for them. His card said: “Thank you friends for liking me.”
Stories like this make us believe that no matter how “bad” the internet may seem sometimes, it is not always negative after all, especially when things like this happen!
Help David with his medical expenses by donating to his GoFundMe HERE.