Welcome

Welcome to Tommy’s website!  Whee!!!

Perhaps Tommy’s YouTube channel “lookyus” brought you here, or maybe you wish to follow his journey as a Paralympic hopeful for Tokyo 2020! Maybe you are a fellow Disney enthusiast, or perhaps you have Autism, or love someone with Autism, and want to learn about Tommy’s childhood, his Autism Assistance Dog Guide, Adel, or his family! We’re so glad you came, and hope you enjoy exploring this site, and reach out to us and say hello!



You can also say hi to Tommy at his  Facebook Page!  He loves Facebook and enjoys chatting.

Facebook Posts

New today! youtu.be/LRRhBwDJFAc
Tommy recited The Jungle Book script as a 50th anniversary tribute to his favorite movie! Tommy's autism affects his pronunciation (but gave him an amazing memory!) so you might like to follow along with the written script, which is online here: www.cubbi.org/disney/scripts/tjb.txt
The story of how Disney has changed Tommy’s life is here: www.autismmeansfriendship.com/disneyfun/
Here is an excerpt: Before he was even a year of age, Tommy would watch Disney movies, showing incredible engagement and excitement at the stories, laughing at the funny parts, and running from the room when villains filled the screen.
When Tommy was diagnosed with autism at age 2 1/2, his parents were told Tommy should not watch movies, advising that the movies should be turned off in favor of trying to get Tommy to engage more, face to face, with people around him than with the television screen.
Tommy’s parents couldn’t imagine taking away his movies. Ignoring the advice of the professionals, Tommy’s parents not only provided him unlimited access to his VHS Disney movies, but continued to expand his movie library in an effort to enrich his life and provide him with more stories and enjoyment. The smile on Tommy’s face, and the twinkle in his eye was their guide.
Still, Tommy remained nonverbal and didn’t respond to language. But his enjoyment of the movies continued. On Tommy’s 3rd birthday, his mother was desperate to have him understand that it was his birthday, so she had a really specific Disney cake made just for him. The picture on the cake was a replica of a picture he often stared at in one of his Disney books- the scene of Mowgli being hypnotized by Kaa. This attempt to make Tommy understand that this particular birthday cake was all for him worked! Tommy saw the cake and was delighted! When it came time to open gifts, Tommy received a small plush toy Iago – the parrot from Aladdin. In a breakthrough moment, Tommy took Iago and put him on his shoulder, imitating Jafar, the villain. It was a moment of surprise and joy for Tommy’s family, showing them that not only was he watching the movies, but that he understood and connected with the characters, and he could engage in imitation and make-believe play, using Iago as his prop. It gave them so much hope!
Still, Tommy’s speech did not develop as hoped, other than a few very infrequent, often hard to understand verbalizations. Tommy loved trains, and would say “toot” like a train. He would say “whee” when going down slides, he would say “Oh oh!” when something fell and broke. He sometimes said “go”, he sometimes said bye-bye which he pronounced “dye dye”. Much of his babbling was simply unrecognizable as words to others (we now know that dyspraxia, or motor planning issues, were affecting his ability to produce words). He often uttered sounds that we could not decipher (ka, oy kee ka, was a common one!). But he seemed truly unable to understand speech from others, or make connections, such as that characters and people had names, that objects important to him had names. He didn’t use language to ask for things or name things. Professionals began to tell his parents that he would likely never become verbal.
At the age of 5 and 6, Tommy began to type and read simple words, and as he approached the age of 7 began to say more and more single words, all of which he could already read and type on programs like Kidworks on the computer. The written word was becoming his doorway to speech.
Another breakthrough moment happened the day Tommy received his first Disney movie on DVD, The Jungle Book, when he was 9 years old, in 2000. Tommy discovered the subtitles on his own. He came running to get his mom, brought her to the computer screen, where he had paused the movie on the scene where Bagheera says to Kaa “Kaa! Hold it, Kaa!” He said “ka oy kee ka” (sounds he had said, and laughed about, repeatedly, for years) and had his mom read the words aloud. And then he said “Kaa! Hold it Kaa!!!” clearly, for the very first time, ever. The written words of the subtitle supported his speech. From that moment on, his parents ensured he always had the closed captioning or subtitles turned on his movies. They bought a new tv that was closed caption capable so all his old VHS Disney movies would have captions! What a joy is was to see Tommy’s language gradually improve more and more with this new tool! Thank you, Disney! Thank you, Jungle Book!
Check out our videos of Tommy at Disney World! Visit Tommy's website to learn more about how Disney helped him learn language.
www.autismmeansfriendship.com/disneyfun/
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@9runrun_ottawa 9RunRun Tommy finished 1st place in 1:11:39 in the 9 Run Run Half Marathon! Thank you to everyone who worked hard to make today's race a great success! Such a wonderful community race 😊❤️ ... See MoreSee Less

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How many pieces of pumpkin pie did you eat for Thanksgiving? Here's what happened when Walter and Marietta brought Tommy a delicious gluten-free pumpkin pie! (He had just run his 10 K Chelsea challenge race, so he was hungry!)
youtu.be/wSILn1ZSNmU
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New lookyus! youtu.be/QS_PDy7b2pw
The Defi Chelsea Challenge is a truly warm, welcoming, friendly, supportive community race, in the amazing town of Chesea Quebec, where Tommy's dad Peter grew up! Thank you to all the wonderful volunteers, who worked hard to welcome all runners to the Chelsea Challenge in 2017! Tommy's Des Brisay family cottage is near this race, and we always feel at home here. Once again, Tommy raced the 10k, finishing 1st place once again, this time with a new personal best time of 31:40! We missed Cousin Iain this year, and hope he will join us in 2018! Thank you to Greg Christie for supporting the race with generous prizes- your generosity is very much appreciated! We hope this video makes you smile! Thanks for watching! Defi Challenge Chelsea
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New lookyus! youtu.be/QS_PDy7b2pw
The Defi Chelsea Challenge is a truly warm, welcoming, friendly, supportive community race, in the amazing town of Chesea Quebec, where Tommy's dad Peter grew up! Thank you to all the wonderful volunteers, who worked hard to welcome all runners to the Chelsea Challenge in 2017! Tommy's Des Brisay family cottage is near this race, and we always feel at home here. Once again, Tommy raced the 10k, finishing 1st place once again, this time with a new personal best time of 31:40! We missed Cousin Iain this year, and hope he will join us in 2018! Thank you to Greg Christie for supporting the race with generous prizes- your generosity is very much appreciated! We hope this video makes you smile! Thanks for watching! Defi Challenge Chelsea
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Tommy T-shirts:

If you wish to buy a T-shirt to support Tommy, click here to take you to the T-shirt page!

 

75 thoughts on “Welcome”

  1. Dear Tommy I’m Samantha Lynn and like you I have always loved Disney and I’m autistic too. I know how you feel I remember every movie and I love to sing and run alot thou my most favorite thing to do is art. if we can be friends that would be great just find me on facebook 🙂 🙂 🙂

  2. Hi tommy I’m Alex I have autism to high function love ur videos and ur dog I have a dog to and also love disney my favorite right now is descendants

  3. (I will try my best english 🙂 ) Such an inspiration, I saw you for the first time in Ottawa this year (Army Run) First time I have tears in my eyes looking at runner.

    Great job, give a hug to Adel for me as well. All the best Tommy, I hope to have the pleasure to follow you in the Paralympics in Tokio.

    Cheers,

    Catherine

    1. Hi Catherine, Thanks for this beautiful and encouraging message! This is Tommy’s mom, MaryAnn. If you see us in Ottawa, please say hi in person 🙂 Have a great day <3

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