Memories of Hope

David Cronin

David Michael (Cronin) Sproul DOD 9/28/2002 age 5. drowning
As we try not to let the grief over power our days, we are strengthened by the lives you have touched and changed forever. In these good moments, we are reminded of a life with such purpose. Your determination taught us anything is possible, your amazing physical abilities have challenged all to temp new heights. And in your death you have changed the lives of those you will never meet; the donation of your heart allows another child to run, your eyes have given the gift of sight, and your tissues have gone to help researchers find a cure. Thank you sweet boy, I think we are beginning to understand the meaning of this. Go Play Davie, Go Play.

 

What I Have Learned
I am a father of a 5-year-old Autistic boy and will always be…

David was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 18 months. At the time, not knowing what Autism was, I led myself to believe that this was a temporary issue and that a few sessions of a moderated home therapy program would bring him back up to speed. Fortunately, my wife Catherine was considerably more intuitive and sought the help from therapists from the Alpine Learning Group (ALG), geneticists and psychiatrists to develop a long-term plan of care and education.

Along with the torturous IEP’s and legal battles that we went through, there were failed attempts to get David out of the home environment and into schools that were either inadequate or unprepared to teach Autistic children. We as parents were exhausted and frightened that our son was suffering terribly from the new track of public education. It became very difficult to actually see the degradation in his behavior and the sight of him pleading us to correct this hurdle. Then a miracle happened…

We received a call from our school district that David would be beginning the next semester (fall ’02) at ALG. This would be one of the greatest days that our family would remember as we knew the dedication and effectiveness that each teacher had at ALG was beyond any model we had seen thus far. As I spent my first day with David at ALG, I saw things in him that I never knew existed. He was starting to ride a bike, he quickly learned how to prepare his lunch and most importantly, he led me around ALG holding my hand, with a little smile and a gleam in his eye that seemed to say, “We did it…. We actually got in here.” I will never forget that moment.

On September 28, 2002, I lost our battle with Autism when David passed away from an accidental drowning. All of my hopes and dreams, all of the things I planned to teach him, everything I had aspired to, had suddenly ended. And once again, my wife took the high road and immediately wanted to do more. Catherine got in touch with Linda Meyer, from ALG, to see what she knew of tissue donor programs that targeted Autism. Fortunately, we were able to quickly get in touch with the Princeton tissue donor program to donate his eyes that a little boy or girl may see as well as donating his brain for research into genetic causes within Autism. This is a difficult decision for any parent to make but was made blindly as we knew that we would be helping others that share similar difficulties.

I will always be eternally grateful to everyone at Alpine for their care and dedication to David. I will always be grateful to my wife Catherine for giving me the strength I needed. I will always be grateful that I had David in my life because he taught me more in six years then I could have ever dreamed.

I am a father of a 5-year-old Autistic boy and will always be…