I'm a parent to two beautiful little girls. Anna is five and Zoey is three, 16 months apart. They are so much alike, but very different.
Zoey is a fiesty and strong little girl who loves music, apples, beefaroni, and walks around with her blankie and milk. And unlike her sister, we don't have conversations about if worms have teeth or not, we don't have conversations at all. Zoey has a very limited vocabulary as of right now, Zoey has autism. She can't speak for herself so I speak for her, and I've gotten pretty good at knowing what she needs, I'm her Mom. I just know.
You see these little ones with autism grow up to be teens and adults with autism. I knew as soon as she was diagnosed the urgency of Early Intervention. I fought for her, I became the voice that she didn't have, I was not going to lose my baby. She started receiving EI at 19 months old, and I've journaled it all. I read all the blogs with the Moms with older children on the Spectrum and I think and worry about Zoey's future, that's what parents do...all parents!
And just like that I became an advocate.
Our life and our routine are not like everyone else's, I've had other parents look at me and judge me because of Zoey's behavior and her sensitivities. Zoey has autism and sensory processing disorder, and her SPD is considered on the severe end of the Spectrum. Yes, just like autism is a spectrum, so is SPD.
People don't see what it's like in our house, they judge when we take her out in public. I've left grocery carts at the Grocery store, I've had to explain my daughter's quirks when a gentleman told me that I should have her on a leash, I've had people laugh and stare, and people have even mentioned "have you tried spanking her?"
It's sad! They don't know about autism or sensory processing disorder and they don't see our every day life. They see us for 10 to 15 minutes because I have a Doctors appointment or an errand to run. They don't see that as soon as we are home, Zoey will strip down to nothing and I have to give her my phone and play music so that I can keep her still so that I can put a diaper on my 3 year old before she pees or poops on the floor, and put her footed pajamas with the feet cut off on her backwards so that she can't take them off.
They don't see me trying to soothe my child with music, when I really want to hold her and hug her, but her SPD is so severe that my child doesn't do hugs and she doesn't let me hold her.
Food aversions, sound sensitivities, compulsive and impulsive behaviors, climbing anything and everything. Her favorite is the sink, she loves to hang off the kitchen sink and splash the water, why? Because she loves water.
They don't see that my child is stuck in the house for her safety because she will not hold hands and she will bolt off and she will not stop when I yell "stop!"
They don't see that we have her bedroom furniture screwed into the walls. All doors are locked and we are talking about alarms and other safety options.
As parents we do everything to keep our children safe from harm or pain, I just have to do a little bit more than most. And I will do everything I can to make sure that she gets everything that she needs. Because she will be a teenager and an adult, and I want to make sure she is ready for this world, even though she is stuck in her own.
I will continue to be her voice until she has one, her advocate when needed, and forever her mommy that loves her!
I'm her Caretaker, Protector, Teacher, #1 Fan, and yes I am her parent, and she is my child that just happens to be a little different and I love that.
Awareness and Acceptance for All!