Friday, June 7, 2013

Please make sure that your seat backs and tray tables are in their upright and locked positions...

Welcome!  Buckle up...autism is our trip!

So they say that having a child will completely rock your world. This is true. Ask any new parent. You might think that you're prepared for what having a baby is like...after all, you've spent countless hours babysitting...what's not to know? WRONG. You don't know ANYTHING!! Why...WHY won't the baby stop crying? How does the car seat work? Why won't the baby sleep through the night? How many stupid snaps are on those sleepers anyway?  A body that little can emit those ear piercing sounds??

But, things start to even out, and you get into a routine. Your little girl is absolutely adorable with her bald little head, her beautiful toothless grin and her infectious laugh. She's happy almost all of the time, and has hit all of her milestones. And so you decide, hey, let's have another baby.

And so you do! And your world is rocked once again, but in a good way. Your new baby girl is equally adorable as your first daughter, with a similar toothless grin and a different infectious laugh.

Things are going wonderfully - baby #2 is hitting all of her milestones ahead of schedule and ahead of her peers....until she stops making progress, and her peers surpass her. She seems to not hear you when you call her name, but put the Wiggles on the TV, and she'll come running from the other room saying "Wigga, Wigga, Wigga". The words that she could say seem to...go away. Her incredibly varied palate diminishes to goldfish, granola bars and fruits. 

So, you take her to her pediatrician. You walk in and proclaim, "There is something not quite right, but I don't think it's autism." The doctor doesn't commit, asks you what seems like a thousand questions, and then says, "Let's just have her evaluated for speech delays and hearing impairments." He's also going have them do an occupational therapy (what in the HECK is THAT?) evaluation at the same time.

You go and have the evals done. While they can't get a read on her hearing (she's not exactly cooperative!), she does qualify for many services. And after many conversations and a LOT of internet research, you realize that your baby girl does, in fact, show red flags for autism. And have yet another evaluation. While you are expecting a diagnosis of autism, you're still heartbroken to hear the words, "Laurie is mildly-moderately autistic."

So, you're sad for a while and then decide that it's time to swing into action. Because of the diagnosis of autism, more therapies are approved...Early Intervention is key, or so they say. And then the fun begins. Your life becomes a series of therapies, doctor appointments and evaluations, as well as a Mommy & Me preschool and gymnastics. There is ALWAYS someone in your house. And all of this is just for your autistic child. Throw in your typical daughter and her preschool, gymnastics, soccer and t-ball, on top of play dates, trips to the grocery store and park, and you are just always on the go.  

And you never slow down.  

So come along on our ride, because autism is our trip!