At just 11 years old, Amir Williams has fought and majestically conquered many health battles including traumatic brain injury and encephalitis, which left him in a coma for two weeks. Also after years of misdiagnoses, just two years ago, Amir was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. However, according to Amir’s dad, Curtis Williams, his son defied doctors’ dire forecasts that he would never walk or talk. So to honor their son’s warrior spirit, last fall, they launched fashion line, AmirWear.
According to Williams, at the tender age of two, one day his son suddenly developed a common cold that would not go away. After back-and-forth trips to the doctor, and trying all kinds of over-the-counter cold medications, he just would not get better. In fact, his health increasingly declined.
“Amir just was not himself. He was really lethargic and wouldn’t get up. So we took him to the emergency room, and the doctors were very alarmed, and immediately had him shipped to Yale New Haven Hospital in Conn. They kept him overnight and all of a sudden, he started having seizures and went into a coma for almost two weeks. These doctors ran every imaginable test to figure out what was going on with our little boy. Amir’s mom and I were devastated. I hated to see how the doctors were poking and prodding him. To see a little two-year-old going through that was heartbreaking. The doctors didn’t give us any definitive answers. All they deduced was that Amir was suffering from encephalitis (inflammation of the brain, often caused by a viral infection). When Amir finally woke up, he was not the same kid anymore. I felt like he was looking straight through us. He did not make eye contact and was paralyzed on his left side. Every time I think back to those days my eyes tear,” Williams said.
However, Amir did not give up on himself. In fact, he worked hard to bounce back, which is why his family wanted to celebrate his courage and resiliece in a unique way.
“To witness how our son rebounded is just so amazing and developing this t-shirt line in his honor was a way to share his story, build awareness and give other parents going through similar trauma —hope.
“We are not trying to be the next Ralph Lauren. We started this t-shirt and sweatshirt line to celebrate our son and bring awareness to the public about our special-needs warriors. After Amir woke up from the coma, he was paralyzed completely on his left side. And though we were told that he would never walk, Amir shocked everyone, and walked. His resolve and determination despite all his setbacks is so inspiring, and we wanted to share his story. When folks buy a t-shirt, they are not just supporting Amir and us, but a bigger cause,” Williams said.
Today Amir still suffers from seizures, and according to his mom, his behavior and speech more resembles a five-year-old, rather than an 11-year-old. However, there was another battle Amir and his parents had to fight—getting him the correct diagnosis.
Tashawna Williams said, “Due to Amir’s health issues, he kept being continually misdiagnosed, and placed in school programs that obviously did not suit him. I completely stopped working and dedicated all my energy to making sure my son got the services he needed. Just two years ago, he was diagnosed with autism and attends ACES Village School in North Haven Conn. I lived in Far Rockaway, but I made this move to Connecticut with my older son for Amir. And to see Amir’s progress every day, makes it all worth it. When you have support from family, friends and the community-at-large, it’s a huge help for parents trying to navigate the system and get the best services for their child.”
Fast forward to the present, Amir loves listening to classical music and watching ballets. “I’m planning to get him enrolled for lessons in dance and music. He definitely has an ear for it,” Tashawna Williams said.
Amir’s dad, Curtis, who grew up in the Hammel Houses Development, said he reflects on his own rough start, and how he was able to turn it all around.
“My first positive role model was Mr. Martin, Hammel’s then Youth Center director. He inspired me to turn away from the streets and instead invest my time uplifting not just myself, but others. It’s ironic that I ended up becoming the center director. However, when I reflect on the kids in our center, I sometimes wonder if some of them were on the autism spectrum. I was only introduced to the world of autism with my son.
“I believe it’s tough for parents trying to get services and awareness. Like with Amir’s mom and I, we were completely in the dark, and did everything we possibly could to help Amir be the best he can be. So as a family, launching AmirWear was a bright spot for the entire family. The receivership from friends and even total strangers has been amazing. One thing I take from everything Amir suffered, is that awareness is definitely something that everyone needs. When you see a child acting up in the supermarket or the mall, instead of judging the child or the parent, try to understand.”
Last Friday, March 1, AmirWear launched its Spring/Summer collection. For more information, visit: amirwear.com or check them out on Instagram or Facebook.
“I’m just so proud of our son. He is indeed a warrior, and with this fashion line, we just want to share his story and build awareness about our special-needs children one tee-shirt at a time,” Williams said.BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS