This April is our 4th year that we Celebrate this month!!
Our sweet Jessa was diagnosed on April 1, 2017, at the young age of 3 ½, and yes, I was hoping the Neurologist would have said April Fools after the diagnosis.
The first year of diagnosis was full of trials and tribulations, research, and countless evaluations to get the help we needed. It was EXHAUSTING so many phone calls, having to repeat yourself over and over and be reminded every phone call that your daughter’s just been diagnosed with Autism. I think that year I must’ve cried enough to fill the lake from the terrible drought we had that year!!
At the same time, here we have a nonverbal child trapped in her little body trying to communicate her needs and wants, but we as parents have no idea what they can be. Talk about feeling helpless. As a parent, you feel like you’re failing your child.
The first year after the diagnosis was not for the weak. I didn’t think there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Luckily I have a husband who’s an amazing father and a sweet 15-year old (at the time) that loves her Sissy dearly, and as a family, we started this Journey.
The second-year was full of Acceptance.
It was accepting the diagnosis and all the therapies that come with it.
We accept that our daughter wouldn’t ever be in that spelling bee or student of the month.
Accepting that sometimes we would have to separate as a family, Jessa and Joel would stay home while I kept up with the busy teenager.
Having to take Jessa to therapies, Nichole to all of her activities, and work was a juggling act I don’t recommend.
One thing that I was NOT able to accept is the sleepless nights that are still unknown, but we survived with the help of coffee and some happy hours. I would always joke around, saying, boy do I wish I could go back and take those naps that I hated as a kid.
Year three was 2019, and it was full of Awareness from spreading it to living it.
Everyone around was fully Aware that our child has Autism.
Jessa flapped her arms, loved to spin in circles, she had no personal bubble, she was in the process of being potty trained, covered her ears when things got too loud, she had this unbearable scream, she dropped to the floor, you name it we lived it!!
These characteristics and behaviors were not easy to deal with but let me tell you, it sure brought Awareness, and I was constantly apologizing for my daughter. Now looking back, I shouldn’t have been apologizing. We were living our life.
So even though we got a lot of stares and finger-pointing, I made sure that people were AWARE that this was AUTISM.
We also started doing fun, positive Awareness activities in the community and within our family and friends.
That year we had our biggest “Team Jessa” for the Annual Autism walk we began to participate in.
We put Jessa in a local Special Needs Cheer Team; Jessa was the youngest on the team and was their mascot; her group participation wasn’t her best.
Now that this is our 4th year of AUTISM ACCEPTANCE/AWARENESS MONTH, I can happily say I Appreciate Autism.
I’m a better person because of this; I have learned strength, perseverance, agility, compassion, and most importantly of all that LOVE NEEDS NO WORDS.
I know the future will still have obstacles, trials and tribulations, dark days, and happy days but I can’t wait to learn more about Autism, see Jessa’s accomplishments, and continue to 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 I continue to tell our story, educate others about Autism, and share our Joy!!
I appreciate the Joy we’ve uncovered in our Journey.
So even though it’s not always easy, I’m very Accepting, Aware, and an Appreciative AUTISM MOM.