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💙April is Autism Awareness Month💙
As I’m sitting here preparing photos to celebrate World Autism Awareness Day on Social Media, I can’t help but remember how this wonderful and different way of life started for us. Typically being a blogger means keeping things fun, upbeat and pretty…but thats not real life!?!? Life isn’t always a walk in the park, on a gorgeous sunny day, with birds chirping, smiles on the kids faces…sorry, imagination got the best of me for a second. With everything we have gone through, I can without a doubt say that I wouldn’t change my situation for anything in the world. Having 2 out of 3 kids on the Autism Spectrum definitely brings it’s fair share of struggles, however the fun and cute quirks and the out of the box thinking makes the struggles so worth it!!!
I have been asked by several mamas… How did you know? What did they do? How do you deal?. I’m hoping that by sharing our experiences we might help other families navigate through their journey. Ours started when our twins were about a year old, its funny to type this, but almost overnight we started seeing subtle differences between the girls. I know I know, your probably thinking “They are not identical,” “They are their own individual person,” “You should never compare siblings” because I kept thinking the same thing myself. I have to say that you go through this denial phase where you think your reading too much into things or your being an overly sensitive mama. One thing I can say for certain is Go with your Gut, your their mama and you know your babies more than anyone!!
Initially things were perfect, our girls were hitting all their baby milestones pretty much together, rolling over, sitting up, holding bottles, eating solids etc. Then one day we were all playing together and Miss L got soooo excited that daddy was home from work so she started flapping her little arms (like the cutest little chunky duck) whereas her twin smiled and reached for daddy. The moment I saw this I was overcome with a bunch of mixed emotions…My heart literally sank in the pit of my stomach. I didn’t know if I should be happy about the excitement of daddy’s arrival, or if what I just saw was a confirmation about ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) behavior that I had only seen in movies or read in books. After that day I always kept it in the back of my mind, and just observed any seemingly different behavior. The next red flag we noticed was Miss L had a significant loss in verbal skills and language. Initially she did the typical “Mama” “Dada” “Hi” “Bye” etc. It was awesome!! she had her own little language with her twin, she was starting to communicate her wants and needs!! I hadn’t thought about the significance of her arm flapping in some time, and everything else seemed to be age appropriate. I honestly thought the arm flapping was just a cute quirk that she would eventually grow out of…until, she replaced her words with pointing and grunting to get what she needed. After this we started observing other textbook behaviors like lining up her toys in a straight line, noticing avoidance of eye contact with us, not responding when her name was called several times, and getting extremely agitated when she couldn’t verbalize her wants and needs.
Then came our Denial stage…even though everything Miss L was doing seemed different to us, we still only knew about Autism what we had seen in movies ie: Rain Man. We didn’t know what textbook Autism behavior was at the time, (and to be quite honest theres really no “textbook” behavior because it is on a spectrum) all we knew was our baby definitely was not like Rain Man. We also remembered the twins being tested by early intervention specialists for developmental delays due to premature birth. They tested perfectly fine… there should be no problem right!. We thought we would wait it out and see what happens, or if she “grows out of it”. Well, she sure didn’t grow out of it!!
Finally, Whew! at the urging of family members we came to the realization that we needed to do something. Thus started our very emotionaly exhausting and time consuming quest to get answers and the help our baby desperately needed. How we got the help and the steps taken is another Blog Post in itself. If your reading this its because you suspect you little one might be on the spectrum or are just curious of how families like mine got to the place they are today. For whatever reason, just know that these Beautiful children are so amazing in their own unique way!! They live in a wonderful world so unlike our own, and just need the acceptance and understanding of those differences.
TO BE CONTINUED…