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  • Vana Thiero Bio
  • Bakary Thiero Bio
  • Carter Thiero Bio

Vana Thiero

 

Vana Thiero, Producer/Advocate

With a BFA in Dance from Western Michigan University (WMU) in Kalamazoo, MI (then) Vana Carter pursued a successful career in Los Angeles appearing in music videos, commercials, films and television series. Kenny Ortega invited her to an edit session where her thirst for production took hold. She returned to WMU for grad studies honing her writing, directing, producing and editing skills and winning awards for Excellence in Programming for Variety Show “Creative Express” and Dance Concert “Slow Boat” for Community Access Television.

Partnering with Producer, Jim Heyden in 1987, she Co-Produced television commercials, instructional and music videos. After writing, producing and directing “The Ballet Teaching Seminar” a documentary which featured renown Ballet Master (to Mikhail Baryshnikov) Jurgen Schneider, Vana received a National Endowment for the Arts Grant to focus on her passion: “Choreography for the Camera” her published Master’s Thesis. Alongside her graduated studies and extracurricular productions she ran camera for WWMT’s 6 and 11 Newscasts. Eventually WWMT would find Vana shooting in the field, producing, editing and pitching news stories.

Obtaining an MA in Communication she returned to LA freelancing on documentaries, in news and more. Though she had a strong producing background, once married, she received an offer to edit full-time for CNN (1994) and she took it; winning an Emmy for their “9/11 coverage.” Side projects still attracted the now Mrs. Thiero. She produced the documentary “Low Riders the Real Story” and edited “Inside Edition” and BET’s “Comic View.”

When both of her children were diagnosed with autism (2002) Thiero continued to work the long hours demanded in the field of journalism. She hired two nannies and attended doctor’s appointments, numerous assessments and the boys’ therapy sessions. Her youngest age 7, Thiero opted out of the work force to better attend to her boys’ development. She also opted out of her marriage…helping to increase the autism divorce rate from 70% to 80%.

Becoming a doting single Mom (in 2005) proved beneficial. Fighting to enroll her son’s in one of the country’s leading special needs institutions The Help Group, accessing County funds for In-Home Therapy Sessions and having time to check homework empowered Ms. Thiero. She volunteered for several charity organizations and provided Public Relations services for Choreographers and Filmmakers landing them reviews and media coverage.  In addition, regular attendance at In His Presence Church revived her spirit.

A Christmas vacation back to Michigan found Thiero “HGTVing” her Mother’s home. The massive renovation re-awakened Vana’s thirst for production. She began capturing footage on her sons, acquiring editing equipment and writing about their unique lifestyle.  Currently, Vana Thiero works part-time as an Ingest Manager for Fox and is producing the documentary,  “My Thiero Boys.”

Bakary Thiero

 

Bakary Thiero

The most beautiful baby in the world came home to meet his big brother, Carter, who had a cold. Not wanting to create a divide between the older and younger siblings Bakary was lovingly placed in his brother's arms to hold, one time. Within days baby Bakary suffered from a devastating fever.

In the womb Bakary consumed loads of mercury as his Mom found herself eating shrimp burritos and shrimp tostadas (sometimes together in one sitting) frequently, before she knew she was pregnant in 1998.

Bakary was a colicky baby. Nevertheless, he hit all his early developmental benchmarks on schedule. He crawled. He pointed. He played peek-a-boo. He spoke many words including Mama, Dada, shoe and no. He even looked when his name was called.

This all went away. Bakary went away. It happened soon after his first set of inoculations. (Exactly what chemical or neurological agents within certain children are triggered by particular vaccines causing drastic developmental regression, is unknown.) He began toe walking, hand flapping, biting his shirt and bolting at a moments notice… looking back and laughing as he left an unsuspecting adult, in his dust.

His older brother diagnosed already, it was clear Bakary's treatment would begin asap. He was placed in a Regional Center funded Early Intervention Program. He received In-Home Floor Time services. He received Speech Therapy and Occupational Therapy (OT).

Occupational Therapy (OT) gave him back more and more focus. As he sat in a tire and twirled in circles, he put legos together for the first time. He was able to play. Single words emerged as Sammie, his Speech Therapist, placed him in OT settings providing natural activities that generated language.

One day during In-Home Floor Time when he was 3 years old, his eyes registered a keen focus again. He was outside engaged in an activity that made him jump with joy. He looked directly into his Mother's eyes who shrieked, "He's back!" The Therapist was equally excited to witness this amazingly instantaneous transformation.

Laughter began to consume Bakary, at times. He would begin to laugh and laugh and laugh. Eventually, his Dad would start laughing and then his Mom and then his brother. There would be gut busting laughter that would go on for a several minutes. Bakary's jolly demeanor was absolutely infectious.

Not unlike his hair raising tantrums - the next phase. He hollered and screamed and hit himself and others. He didn't cry tears though crying sounds crippled his parents. Who learned to lock themselves and brother Carter in a room until the tantrums sub-sided. The bites, scratches and hits were too much to endure on a regular basis. Bakary was placed on Risperdal which helped him sleep through the night and attend/focus better during the day…it seemed to be very helpful.

In Kindergarten the Special Ed ICAP program also helped Bakary. It provided Speech and OT in a 6 hour school day. His teacher Sherry really guided Bakary's verbal and cognitive growth. In First grade his teacher Stacy continued to re-enforce Bakary's skills. These two teachers at Rio Vista Elementary were wonderful! The Second grade found Bakary at Sunrise Elementary at The Help Group, a non-public school for autism, where he also thrived and remains today. He actually met almost all of his goals on his last IEP!

Over time, his tantrums increased with growth spurts as did his dosage of Risperdal to calm the behaviors. His language came and went with the different services in or out of place. He was kicked out of speech therapy on two occasions due to behaviors, though no aggression toward a therapist occurred. His exuberant energy level, jumping and yelping proved intimidating… whether he was happy or upset.

In January 2011 Bakary came off pharmaceutical medicines. In March 2011 he began a natural medicine regime to cleanse his blood, help with anxiety, give him focus and assist him with sleeping at night. His words and his desire to utilize language drastically decreased. But, his focused attention, his understanding of one step commands and ability to sit down in public places increased tremendously. And the frightening tantrums (where he would bite, scratch, pinch and hit others and himself as well occasionally thrashing his body violently into walls and onto the ground) are –in October 2011- a thing of the past!

He still jumps, runs and bites -- his shirt only. He will listen when told to stop, walk or jump softly. Very independent he dresses himself, microwaves frozen meals and cheese on Russian bread - loaded with margarine. In Home Therapy sessions from Working With Autism in ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) and the Autism Response Team in Adaptive Skills have taught him and his family how to help Bakary help himself.

An incredible swimmer and videotape rewind, Bakary still loves to laugh. He really tries to communicate through PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System), gestures, pulling, pushing and even occasional words – prompted, unprompted, echolalia or inaudible. He's got a 6 pack and a mischievous smile that melts your heart as he pulls one over on you. He knows exactly what's going on and he understands most things that are being spoken. He cries tears these days when frustrated or jealous. And his rhythmic songs ring promise.

Carter Thiero

 

Carter Thiero

With the confident and often nerve defying attitude of a teenager Carter Thiero manages life through inner strength, he will tell you comes from God. He trusts himself. His patience and impatience with his brother's antics are understandably appropriate. As a big brother he is stellar.

Born blue due to a lack of oxygen, Carter's complexion brightened. Family friend Lisa Passero (of Jewish Italian decent) held him in her arms on his day of birth and commented, "He's the same color I am!" Eventually his father's African pigment blossomed as did his mother's energetic smile.

A product of premiere episodes of "Blues Clues" Carter learned to write and draw at one and half years old. He sang many songs from "Barney" home videos. When the "Zaboomafoo" Kratt brothers' show began this near 2 year old performed every frame of activity to the opening sequence. Grabbing his back pack he slid down poles (on Bakary's infant swing) ran, jumped & sang. Although, he could not put a 3 word sentence together, he spoke in jargon.

A couple months in speech therapy empowered him with language. Social Skills empowered him with friend making magic. And school found him excelling after he was NOT given the Kindergarten required MMR.

Carter had received all his first inoculations on time. Not feeling comfortable with giving him a second MMR, his Mother expressed her concerns with his doctor. Pediatrician, Dr. Sheldon Kishiniff sent Carter for blood work which showed his previous MMR was still active in his system. Proving an additional vaccination was not needed. Mom, Vana, signed the waiver, and did not allow her son to receive a Mumps Measles Rubella vaccination at age 5.

Carter was main-streamed. With both parents' career responsibilities leaving the Thiero boys under the care of loving Spanish speaking nannies the majority of the day and night, Carter's homework often went undone. He repeated the 1st grade and found himself in a Special Ed class much to his Mother's regret.

Taunted by a set of twins – classmates - his confidence began to erode. Daily tales of verbal and physical bullying consumed Carter's life. Ironically, he began to excel in math. Yet when his teacher neglected to ramp up his math work to further challenge his intellect, as requested by his Mother, public school didn't seem to be the best educational fit. He was accepted into Bridgeport elementary, at The Help Group a non-public school for autism, where teachers Lisa Martin and Maurine Okhoya guided him to test in the top percentile in math AND language arts.

He still has challenges with verb tense and sentence structure during average conversations. Giving complete attention when listening is another area in which he strives to improve, as his inner creative dialogue poses random distractions. Still very artistically active, Carter makes paper creations that he developed himself. He's created a cartoon series with his buddy Joey. And he likes to write movie ideas. An avid swimmer, roller skater, biker and self proclaimed good dancer Carter now attends The Help Group's Village Glen High School's Tweener Program.

Energetic yet shy Carter enjoys gags and leading friends in exciting games. He loves making people laugh!