For me, as a blogger and mom, Autism Awareness month has been about helping people make connections - either to each other or to how Autism Spectrum Disorders affect people and families and connecting you my blog readers to individuals, companies and ideas that support the Autism community, and for me it's been interesting to find that connections that I had for entirely different reasons are becoming richer connections because of AAM.
That is what happened with my guest today. Yvonne and I have been exchanging emails back and forth for nearly a year now, working together to promote the authors she works with and a few days ago she emailed me to connect about having children on the spectrum! Of course, I invited her to share her story with us:
What goes around comes around
When Adonia was born she at first seemed like a happy and healthy baby. As she approached 1 year old I started to notice some odd behaviour. She was hyper and did not want to be touched. There was a lack of interest in her family. She barely gave eye contact.
Around 18 months we noticed a speech delay. We went to see a speech professional. Close to 3 years old Adonia was diagnosed with Autism. I remember feeling severe grief; my dreams for her were crushed. She needed lots of care so my dreams for myself were gone. I then quit my job and stayed home. I felt a pain in my heart that she could not even speak.
We introduced pecs for her as a method of speech when she turned 4 years old. My dreams for her changed they became new different dreams. Her disability made me appreciate the small things in life. I realized how fragile we are and how an illness can take away everything.
At 5 years old she received limited ABA therapy. They call this therapy IBi therapy in Canada. This treatment was very demanding on the parent. I was frequently called without notice to pick up my kid. In Canada the wait lists are long and the time your child received therapy is very limited. This therapy though if provided 1 year or more provides excellent results.
Eventually she did speak at the age of 6 years old. This event opened new doors for me. The demands related to her disability made it hard to maintain a 9-5 work life. Instead this opened doors to a different life. I found myself starting my own business. Spending more time with my two children enjoying with them the precious moments in their lives.
It is really important to become educated on how to teach your child with Autism. You are the strongest advocate. Teaching new skills is a 24 hour job. Children with Autism learn differently. Push to get a diagnosis for your child treatment does not start without a diagnosis.
At first her diagnoses of Autism seemed to be a death sentence but what goes around did come around. I find myself with a different better life. I have a self-employed career and I am able to be there for the precious moments in both my kids’ lives. What I value as important has changed for the best. Now Adonia can give eye contact, enjoy a hug and speak in a limited basis.
Yvonne Wu is currently working as an Author Assistant. Visit her at http://theyppublishing.com/.