"If you were to get rid of all the autism genetics, there would be no more Silicon Valley.” - Dr. Temple Grandin
This quote inspires me, on days I feel somewhat hopeless about my son's speech, not knowing if and when I will get to hear Isaac speak someday. He is curious, as sweet as can be and ornery when he wants things his way. We have our ups and downs. But he will always be my baby regardless of his inability to talk. His hugs and kisses are enough to prove that love needs no words.
When it comes to autism or any special needs diagnosis, there’s going to be heartbreak, sleepless nights, overstimulation, frustration, hopelessness, and days where you don't know how you can do better or try harder as a parent.
When people ask how I manage being a special needs mom, I tell them I don't know - I just do it. God doesn't equip us with the tools to get our children help, he equips us with his mercy to start new each day and to have faith in Him regardless of our circumstances.
I didn't truly understand strength and patience until we went through so many doctors visits, therapies, sending emails and receiving phone calls battling with insurance companies, denials, check-ups and observations.
Even having a pediatrician tell me right from the start that he was fine and maybe he would reach his developmental milestones later on because he's a boy; since boys take a bit longer to develop than girls.
Deep down I knew Isaac was autistic before receiving a diagnosis at the age of two.
His developmental age is currently 18 months. He will be turning 5 this October.
He can sign eat, toy, more, grab my hand, give me kisses, and wave bye-bye.
He will try to say all done, mimi (mickey), baba, dada, and mama.
He sometimes regresses with words and doesn't always know how to communicate, but I follow his cues and we figure it out along the way.
He can wash his hands and needs help with brushing teeth and dressing up.
But in comparison to this time last year we have improved on so much more with our nonverbal communication, eye contact, and functional living behaviors.
His journey looks different than neuro-typical kiddos, but he'll always be Isaac.
I'm so proud of the progress and watching him learn and grow and truly appreciative of his program at the Applied Behavior Center for Autism.
When you focus on the capability of a child's special needs instead of limiting them to their disability, there's awareness and acceptance that is needed to help them thrive to reach their own potential.
Having a child with special needs teaches you that there's no exact timeline for what you think you should be doing at your age and that it's okay to do things differently and follow your own path in a way that makes your life better.
It's important to have the perspective that even though it doesn't get any easier, the journey does get better when you change your perspective to stay focused on their capability vs their disability.
Focus on what you and your child are capable of and how to continue the path that makes your life and your family's better.
Surrender to the path of least resistance and show up no matter what that looks like for your child, which will truly make a difference in who you are as a parent and their capability, even their potential to grow into the best version of themselves.
Because along the way, they will teach you and help you grow, too.