Rochester, N.Y. - Charlie was born eight weeks early but his mother never worried about his development.
When his speech was delayed and his eye contact "off", his mother attributed both to his premature birth.
But then she realized something was really wrong when Charlie was 15 months old.
Still, she wasn't expected the diagnosis of autism.
"It floored me," Dawn Bird told us. "I was shocked."
But she never looked back or asked "why me?"
She immediately focused on getting help for her son.
It was the same kind of reaction for Michelle Lasker. But Michelle, who is a nurse, says she knew in her heart her son Tyler was autistic.
Michelle says her once talkative toddler suddenly stopped speaking and communicating when he was about 18 months old.
She sat in her car and cried after hearing the diagnosis. Then Michelle moved forward.
Now thanks to early intervention, both boys are speaking again and communicating.
A milestone to their mothers.
The boys don't know each other but both are benefitting from play therapy.
They are part of a study by researchers at the University Of Rochester Medical Center.
The study looks at how teaching children with autism to play traditional games can also help change their sometimes routine, robotic behavior.
It not only teaches them to "play games" but also to interact socially with those around them. As Dawn Bird put it, "it helps get her son out of his own world and into ours."
After listening to both mothers share their sometimes painful struggles raising a child with autism, it made me think.
"How do they do it?" When I asked each mother that question, they didn't hesitate in their response. Both told me: "I do it for my son." This isn't about them, it is about their children.
How unselfish. There is so much about autism that doctors and researchers don't know.
What causes it? Why does it affect five times as many boys as girls?
Hopefully with more research and studies, those answers will come.
But that won't change things for Tyler and Charlie.
Or their mothers.
But that's okay. As Dawn Bird told me: "I wouldn't trade him for the world...he sees things in a way I don't...so I am learning from him."
So the message for parents of healthy children, don't sweat the small stuff.
Find joy in the good things your kids do and let them teach you a thing or two about life.
These mothers are a lesson to us all.
Patrice Walsh, Reporter