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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Let's Take it from the Top

It was a brisk November day. A psychologist knocked on our door and played with my toddler who struggled on a daily basis. She sat me down and explained autism spectrum disorder. I had 20 different acronyms thrown at me as I was trying to swallow Autism. You know in the movies where they illustrate a person experiencing anxiety and everything is echoing and their vision is going blurry. It's true! I felt numb, sad, angry, and relieved. Relieved? Yes relieved, because Grace had been getting services from 15 months old and there were no answers. It all started with speech therapy, then they added special Ed. Along came occupational therapy (OT). Last but not least physical therapy (pt). 

When speech started, there weren't any words. She couldn't even answer to her name. That's when they added special Ed, which is therapy to help cognitively. The words came! Yey she spoke! She will grow out of this I thought. Then came the scripting, echolalia, jargon, the sensory issues, the extremely aggressive behavior. Like a water fall, as speech was delivered, so was every symptom of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

After her diagnosis the therapies increased and became intense. Everyday 3-4 therapist entered our house and worked with Grace. There were happy times and There were times when chairs went flying across the living room. Everything you and I learned naturally Grace has to be taught. It's called incidental learning, she struggles with it. Examples are: pointing, answering to her name, navigating her place in space, grasping objects, stringing sentences together, playing, turning a picture right side up, jumping, walking up and down stairs, emotions, etc.

I don't think we left the house much for 2 years and if we did all 3 of us would end up crying in the car on the way home. There were days Super Daddy and me were covered with scratches and bruises. Our poor grace could not express what she needed and her sensory processing was way off. But a lot of this has been helped from her therapists.

Super Daddy and me were wiped. But we trekked on. I found myself weighing out what she could do and it helped and helps a lot. Eventually Grace was placed in an amazing school in a self contained classroom, she is still there in pre k in a 9:1:3 and has her own 1:1. With all therapies above she also receives counseling and movement therapy.

Grace has no filter and is best described as Aspergers. No diagnosis of that. But she says exactly what's on her mind and does what exactly comes to her mind. She is extremely literal and a concrete thinker. She is so loving. She talks too much and has a hard time with personal space. A lot of her speech comes from tv shows, movies, or commercials. As a coping mechanism when she can't find the words to say she will recite a sentence from a movie that applies to the actual conversations. Sometimes for fun she will rattle off an entire movie. Genius, if you ask me. When in the car and we pass a store she knows she will sing the commercial that goes a long with it. she thinks in pictures. She can tell you every color including indigo, and every shape including a rhombus. But if you ask her what hurts or why she flung a chair across the room you will get a blank stare or a scripted sentence in return. At times she can become extremely aggressive but thank god never towards her peers. She loves routine and hates change. She makes me laugh with the quirky things that fly out of her mouth each day. She sees the world differently than you and me. Everyday is an adventure with Grace, the boss lady. Super Daddy and me love her and do everything we can to make every challenge she faces easier. We take this journey in strides. Some days it's tough. But it's our life and our adventure. I hope you enjoy our ADVENTURES on the Spectrum :) 

"Maybe it's not about the happy ending, it's about the Whole story"



  1. And for however long we've been friends and I've known That Grace has autism, I've never known the whole story. I'm so happy you are opening up and sharing! I'm so proud of you and Ernesto. You are an amazing mom and Ernesto is an amazing dad. I can't wait to read more!