Autism at Heart of Holly Bialorucki's Run for State Title
El Dorado Hills resident Holly Bialorucki, 44, hopes her message of early childhood intervention of autism can gain a broader audience if she is able to leverage her Mrs. El Dorado County International title into a state win this September
She will be representing El Dorado County in the Mrs. California International pageant Sept. 9-10, with a platform to encourage parents to seek treatment and therapy for autism at an early age.
Her daughter, Bonnie, was diagnosed with autism at 3 years old.
“Bonnie was developing normally up to 18 months old,” she said. “Then, everything dropped off, like all her words.”
She said the diagnosis wasn’t good.
“Doctors gave us no hope,” she said. “They told us she would get a menial job at best.”
According to Bialorucki, the diagnosis hit the family very hard.
“It was like losing a child,” she said. “She was here and interacting, and then we couldn’t communicate with her.”
The family opted to try and were able to enroll Bonnie in a special-needs preschool. It was there that a teacher took an interest in Bonnie.
“Bonnie would come home (from preschool) and work with a therapy group. It was exhausting,” Bialorucki said. “I stayed home for two years and there were lots of tears.”
That teacher was able to use an activity Bonnie enjoyed to get her to start using words.
“The only thing the teacher knew about Bonnie was she liked to swing,” she said. “She made Bonnie say ‘help’ before she would put her in the swing. Then eventually it was ‘help me’ and finally it was ‘help me swing, teacher.’”
Bonnie, who is ...