Tell us a bit about yourself!
My name is Rachel. I turn 30 this year and I’ve been in the Twin Cities since 2005. I work at an insurance agency in the commercial lines department. My free time is somewhat limited, but when I have a couple moments, I read. It’s something I especially love to do with my daughter, Lily!
This is a tricky question, because when it comes to Autism, there’s a lot of denial. If I’m really honest with myself, I think we first suspected (at least subconsciously) that something was different with Lily around the time that speech is expected to be reached.
Initially it was anxiety, anger, shame, frustration. People are afraid of what they don’t understand. We had heard the word “autism” tossed around and pictured Rain Man or assumed it was the new “trendy” illness. But as we learned more about it (and we are still learning- we will never stop learning) the more accepting of it we are.
She is considered somewhat high functioning. She talks- a lot of it is echolalia, but she is getting better at communicating in a more typical way. She has sensory issues. Certain sounds can set her off into a meltdown (crying babies for example).
Lily isn’t on any medications at this point in her life. She goes to a public preschool for about three hours a day, four days a week which has replaced her Speech and Occupational therapy which we originally were doing through her doctor’s office. Her teachers and Paras have just been amazing to work with. We’ve been so lucky to have them.
I never imagined that I would be the parent of a child with special needs. I’m fortunate that the office I work in is extremely understanding. I’m tremendously grateful for that. My husband and I realize that we have more challenges than some families will, but we don’t feel sorry for ourselves or anything.
I’m not sure. At this point, there is a possibility that she may live with us longer than most people would. I feel that we (as a society) are making a lot of progress with the overall acceptance of what Autism is, so who knows? There is no doubt in my mind that Lily will be just as awesome as an adult that she is as a kid.
We don’t have other children- Lily is all we wanted! 🙂
Definitely get as much support as possible as soon as you can. Accept that it will be a challenge, but know that the rewards are tremendous. Autism isn’t a death sentence- it’s just a different route.