Gratitude

I’m GRATEFUL for AUTISM.

I probably would’ve said some unkind words, cried and laughed in your face if you would’ve told me 3-4 years ago that I’d be GRATEFUL for Autism.

There were days I cried AND screamed:

Why my baby girl?

Why my family?

Why my marriage?

Why me?

It hasn’t always been the brightest of days but I’m now GRATEFUL for that. As a person I have learned strength, perseverance, agility, compassion and most importantly of all that LOVE NEEDS NO WORDS.

I’m GRATEFUL for AUTISM and here’s why:

Jessa

In between having my oldest daughter Nichole and Jessa I did have a couple rainbow babies so after 12 YEARS I was GRATEFUL to be holding another Beautiful Baby Girl.

Jessa automatically filled a void in my life that I didn’t know I needed. She was such a precious little, angel looking baby.

If Jessa could write down things that she’s taught me it would be these:

• AUTISM IS JUST ONE MY CHARACTERISTICS IT DOESN’T DEFINE ME.
• I’M SPECIAL IN MY OWN WAY.
• FOCUS ON WHAT I CAN DO AND NOT WHAT I CAN’T DO.
• BE PATIENT & CONSISTENT.
• I DO WHAT I WANT WITHOUT FEAR OR JUDGEMENT.
• I LOVE UNCONDITIONALLY.
• DON’T GIVE UP.

Jessa is my Blessing in Disguise from God, I’ve learned so much from her and I’m a better person than I was 7 years ago and it’s all because of Autism.

How could I NOT be GRATEFUL for Jessa, I mean look at how stinking cute she is.

NICHOLE

Of course I’m GRATEFUL to have Nichole as my daughter, she’s smart, sweet and full of love. I never imagined Nichole to be the AMAZING Autism Sister that she is,I mean I knew she was going to be a Great Big Sister but Autism Sister is a totally different title, love, and understanding. Nichole instantly became Jessa’s second mom, she just has a natural mother’s instinct when it comes to children. She understood Jessa and took her time to get to know what she needed/wanted.

I’m EXTREMELY GRATEFUL I have Nichole with me on this journey. She reminds me that I needed to be patient with Jessa, that Jessa requires a different type of love, and that we ARE Jessa’s voice!!

Nichole is always so nurturing, loving and understanding with Jessa’s disabilities. She’s also always reminded me to look at all the positive and joy on this journey! I couldn’t have prayed for a better “Sissy” for Jessa, Nichole you’re one of a kind!!

JOEL

I was blessed with an angel from above when I met this man, he helped me dig myself out of a black hole I’d been living under. He automatically became a father to Nichole without even thinking about it, he just did it!

Men/Partners like Joel are hard to come by and I’m so GRATEFUL I get to call him mine.

I’m even MORE GRATEFUL that he’s Jessa’s Daddy. God knew that I needed him on this journey and that Jessa needed someone that LOVES HARD.

Joel goes above and beyond being a provider for us financially, even though he works 60-70 hours a week he’s still here for us emotionally, mentally, and not once complains about it.

Thanks to Joel for being so loving with Jessa we now own around 3,000 toys, 5 tablets, 100+ shoes, 3 trips to Disney, a couple of crazy eBay bids, countless Happy Meals and Extra Most Bestest Pepperoni Pizzas and now Jessa’s favorite: The Pizza Restaurant trips!!

Thank you Joel for being the Best Daddy Jessa could have, I guess I’ll admit you’re her FAVORITE!! She LOVES her DADDY.

ABA -(Applied Behavior Analysis)

When we first started this journey, I immediately told myself I wouldn’t in a million years put Jessa in ABA. At the time I was given wrong information and didn’t know how far this therapy had come along.

After having Jessa in ABA for almost 3 years I HIGHLY recommend it to all that I meet that are just now starting their journey. Jessa has come so far on her journey but it’s because of all the ABA therapy she’s had. She goes Monday-Friday from 9-5, it’s more hours than the average adult works but it’s so worth the results!!

I’m TRULY GRATEFUL for ABA if it wasn’t for the hard work of ALL the therapists she’s had these past 3 years I honestly don’t think I’d even have the time to write this right now. Before ABA, and After ABA is how I describe our journey in a lot that we’ve accomplished.

Before ABA:

Hours and hours of meltdowns a day.
Spoke absolutely no words, she just pointed and grunted.
No eye contact.
No life skills.
Poor motor skills.
No social contact.

This list goes on.

After 3 years of ABA:


1 to 2 10-20 minute meltdowns, some days 0.
Non-Verbal because she doesn’t communicate on demand but she can tell you what she does and doesn’t want with a polite “Please or Thank you”
She’s potty trained.
LOVES playing with friends.
Motor skills have improved tremendously.
Eye contact is better but still needs improvement.
Shows emotions.

To say I’m GRATEFUL for ABA is an understatement, it’s been life changing for Jessa, and our family. We’re very GRATEFUL for all her BCBA’s and Therapists that have helped us these past 3 years!! Y’all are angels in our eyes!!

THE FUTURE

I know the future will still have obstacles, trials and tribulations, dark days, and happy days.
I can’t wait to learn more about Autism, see Jessa’s accomplishments, cheer her on in all she does.
I know I’m still not done growing and learning as a Special Needs Mom. I’m hopeful that in the future I get to be able to tell our story, educate others about Autism, and share our Joy!!
I’m GRATEFUL for the future of Autism and the Joy we’re going to find in our Journey.

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