Alex and Advocate

 

You may have seen Alex Moshenko’s face on toy boxes like Fisher-Price, because he modeled for toy companies as a toddler. Looking at his picture, you might have assumed that he didn’t have any health problems.

As Alex grew older he had difficulties coping with everyday life. Imagine a little 4-year-old boy so terrified by fireworks that he would cry and hide under a table. His mom, Monica Moshenko, had to keep him in a stroller at the mall, otherwise he would freak out. At home he would watch the same Disney movie again and again. Alex’s mom worried about him, especially since they didn’t know what was causing his difficulties.

When Alex turned 6, a doctor finally diagnosed him with Asperger’s Syndrome, a kind of autism. His mom felt glad to discover Alex’s condition. She recalls that back then, Alex didn’t understand many social cues, so he couldn’t read facial expressions very well. Also, his senses were magnified, so he couldn’t stand the feel of a clothing tag next to his skin.

Ms. Moshenko began advocating for her son in 1999.  She educated herself on disability laws and Alex’s rights. Consequently, she pushed for his special education services.

In kindergarten Alex received special help in a 6-1-1 class, six students to one teacher and a teacher’s aide. During elementary school he participated in a regular class with a full-time aide. Alex also received extensive occupational and speech therapy. He developed by leaps and bounds, even achieving honor roll status.

Alex was thriving, so Ms. Moshenko started devoting time to helping others. She assisted other parents in advocating for their kids, and she raised money for autism research.

In 2004 Ms. Moshenko started a live radio talk show called “DisAbility News and Views” to benefit people with disabilities, their families, and community professionals.

Since Ms. Moshenko was very involved in the disability community, Senator Hillary Clinton invited her to attend a Health Care discussion group. Alex, 12 years old at the time, went along and even stood up to speak. Ms. Moshenko remembers: “He told everyone in the audience (over 150 people including media), that he was my son and he was there to speak for children with autism who can’t. He provided stats of the increase of autism: over one million in the country affected.” Ms. Clinton was quite impressed with Alex after his articulate speech.      

Unfortunately, when Alex went to Middle School, other kids bullied him. Consequently, Ms. Moshenko started home schooling him. Alex continued to be an exceptional student.        
            
In order to reach more people, Ms. Moshenko moved her radio show to the Internet. Folks can listen to her interviews any time at disabilitynewsradio.com. She has interviewed some interesting people: Senator Clinton, Teri Garr, Henry Winkler, Josh Blue (comedian who won NBC’s Last Comic Standing), and others.

In September 2007, Ms. Moshenko added a new show to her website: “Ask the Advocate.” Ms. Moshenko says “I host a live call-in show every Wednesday for parents to call in to ask about Special Education issues.”

Ms. Moshenko supports Alex in his special interests too. Alex became a wrestling fan at age 9. At first he watched matches on TV. Going to a live match wasn’t an option, since he experiences oversensitivity to sound and light. Wrestling events tend to have screaming crowds, fireworks, and loud music.

Friends at NBC arranged for Alex to meet his wrestling hero Dave Batista, and Alex interviewed him on TV. Alex enjoyed the experience so much that he started his own radio show in 2006: “Al’s Wrestling Talk.” He does interviews, commentary, and takes phone calls from wrestling fans. Alex’s Brother David, Captain Obvious, has co-hosted the radio show on occasion.

Alex says in an e-mail on September 13, 2007: “I was at a live wrestling event tonight doing color commentating, which was great. (Regarding) sensory issues at wrestling events now, I have watched enough wrestling events on TV to know which wrestlers have fireworks go off with their entrance. Over the years I have had extensive sensory therapy, which has helped a lot. But I also know what bothers me and will either cover my ears, wear ear plugs, a headset, or leave the area during loud noises if needed. Having OT has helped a lot.”

Alex now enjoys wrestling TNA, total non-stop action. His wrestling mania connected him with the organization Wrestling Autism. Wrestling Autism raises money for the National Autism Association. The NAA offers information and support for those affected by autism. Alex is the official spokesperson for wrestlingautism.org. Alex says: “Wrestling Autism is a great fundraiser for kids like me who are wrestling with autism.”

Alex relates that “Al’s Wrestling Talk” is his dream come true. “I always like to thank my mom publicly. She’s the one who got the help for me. I’m doing what I love,” says Alex. He advises other kids with autism: “Don’t let your labels define you. If you have a dream—go for it.”

Alex’s radio show: online at www.alswrestlingtalk.com
 Saturday at 7PM ET and
 Wednesday at 8PM ET                                                                                                                                         

Monica Moshenko’s radio show: online at www.disabilitynewsradio.com
 Disability News and Views: Listen to recorded interviews anytime.
Ask the Advocate: Wednesday at 1:30PM ET 

-Note: this article was first published on www.disaboom.com – January 11th, 2008.

11 Comments on “Alex and Advocate”


  1. Thank you VERY MUCH Nancy for this wonderful blog! It truly has been a wrestling fans dream come true, my life….I’ve gone to Wrestlemania (23), been to live shows (around five), and met and talked to some of the best wrestlers (well known or not, OSPW represent!) of today. It’s been such a blessing and I can’t wait for what the future holds in store, I can’t wait for this upcoming Wrestlemania, the 25th anniversary of this amazing spectacle, thank you for this blog/article, it was great!

  2. Lyn Dunsavage Young Says:

    I’m so pleased to see that Monica and Alex are both doing so well! It is a dream come true.
    Lyn Dunsavage Young

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  7. kathy Says:

    Kudos to the moms like me who now have to tech society about asberger,autism.My son is now 20.diagnosed since he was 5.Your site documents almost a parallel of events my son went thru.People say hes cured.or isnt autistic now..but we came a long way to get him at the level he is.and 370 thousand in union insurance paying doctors,paras,psych,case managers,therapy,and training for me as a parent.his story was documented on cd for new parents who will come to them asking is there anything we can do.My son changed laws,school policy,and minds of those in the teaching profession.May his blogs,and websites like yours further hope,and understanding that there is light at the end of the tunnel..PS. my cameron loves dragsters..he has been training with a staff for years putting out ihra,nhra,and drag cars on the dragstrip.whether its wrestling or dragsters: they have a passion to be shared.

  8. hopeability Says:

    Hi, I just found your post about my blog name in the spam box, pardon me for missing it. Thanks much – needed to hear that today. Peace, Nancy

  9. hopeability Says:

    Hi, I found some comments in my spam box. I’ll look into the rss questions. Thanks, Nancy

  10. hopeability Says:

    You rock, bigal.

  11. hopeability Says:

    Hi Kathy, My hubby is into muscle cars. Tell Cameron I said – drag on! – Nancy


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