Josh Bransky’s autism journey started when he was diagnosed at 14-months old. “He didn’t speak till he was four, had articulation and pragmatic language deficits, severe gross and small/fine motor delays, and struggled with proprioception and vestibular dysfunctions,” his mother Adrienne explained.
These challenges could easily overwhelm anyone, but this story is about resilience, love, and sheer will, not only from Josh but from his entire support system. Josh graduated third in his high school this May and will be heading to Rochester Institute of Technology to study Computer Science! On top of all his classes, homework, and swim team practice, Josh still took time to volunteer for ACEing Autism.
To understand the magnitude of this accomplishment, let’s look at what he has overcome and how he was able to knock them out one by one.
His mother and ACEing Autism Dallas Program Director tells us that early on “he couldn’t read and spell due to his dyslexia. While fully remediated, to this day he only reads for assignments.”
On top of this, “manually writing an assignment was and still is difficult for Josh due to his dysgraphia. Not only does it take him far longer to get his thoughts out, his hand starts to ache,” Adrienne added. As a result, he’s been typing all his assignments and tests since middle school.
Lastly, ADHD initially made it difficult for Josh to pay attention in group lessons, focus for a long time, wait his turn in line and raise his hands to answer a question but behavioral therapy and meds helped curb these tendencies. Organizational and executive planning “are still an area of relative weakness and our biggest concern for him as he heads off to college,” the proud mother of 3 revealed, but Josh has made tremendous progress toward mastering them.
So how did he do it? Josh and his village tackled each of his challenges one by one and kept setting new milestones. “It took hours and hours of multiple types of therapy, medication, various supports (academic coach, structured environment at home, etc), physical activity (specifically competitive swimming), and a few key events,” Adrienne responded.
It is also really important to note that Adrienne and her husband Aaron always taught him about his differences, embraced them, and put the support he needed in place. For any parent out there going through the same thing, Adrienne has this message for you: “trust your gut as a parent and if you don’t think something is working or that somebody’s doing what is in your child’s best interest, start asking questions and/or make a change.”
As he conquered each challenge his confidence grew, and with it the number of accolades.
After making the varsity swim team his freshman year, he won several medals at the regional level and competed at the state level all four years. He led his team to Regional Championships his junior and senior year, made the Academic All State team and won a State medal his senior year.
He also started the School’s Dungeon and Dragon’s club which is now the largest and most active club in the high school.
To end this extremely inspiring story, Adrienne leaves us with these words. “It was a long, difficult, and tiring journey to get Josh to where he is today, but if you keep plugging away little by little, one day you reach a milestone (like Josh’s graduation), look back and see how far you’ve really come!”