Our Family's Journey Through Autism And The Untold Beauty Of It. Megan is an amazing child with autism through her we have learned the beauty of autism.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

April is Autism Awareness Month!

But most of you probably already know that, in honor of that we have created a slide show to give you a peek into the "Beauty Of Autism" This is our wish for our daughter Megan, and many other children affected with a form Autism.

Go check out Gina k's site she has released her Autism Stamps and $8.00 from every purchase goes to Autism speaks! Here is the link to Gina's site! Gina K

I hope you enjoy our slide show!

Stay tuned for the next chapter in The Beauty Of Autism, Where do we go from here?

Friday, March 23, 2007

The Diagnosis

Shortly after Megan had her first birthday, we started to notice that she wasn't yet making Mama, Dada sounds, and it appeared that she couldn't hear us! We could walk up behind her clap, stomp, make loud noises and she wouldn't turn head. So I took her to the family Dr. and he sent us for a hearing test, and a visit to the nose, ears, and throat specialist. First was our appointment with the specialist, she stomped, clapped, and made loud noises, Megan didn't even flinch! She examined her ears, not an easy feat for a child who won't let strangers touch them! After examining her ears, she determined that everything looked normal, and we should not only have a hearing test, but also an ultrasound of the inner ear. So off the the audiologist we went.

Once we had the ultrasound and hearing test completed the audiologist sat down with us to explain the results. Megan has better then average hearing, she can hear sounds and frequencies that most people can't, a very heightened sense of hearing, is what we were told! What?!! All this time she could hear me and choose not to! Oh my, my daughter didn't care to interact with me! That hit home really hard, what had I done wrong, why didn't she love me, these were some of the first thoughts I had, mind you they didn't last long but, it still hurt no the less. Megan was always very affectionate with me, always wanting back rubs and hugs, thankfully we did have a place where we could meet and just be.

So now we had to figure out why she didn't want to listen or verbally interact with us. Because Megan had always been very loving towards me, made eye contact, and progressed at a normal rate Autism never crossed my mind, until.......... One day my mom was over visiting and thought i should look up the symptoms of Autism, she worked with a man who had Autism, and she thought that Megan shared some of the same traits, he had. So off I went to my bible then "What To Expect in The Toddlers Years" it had a few paragraphs about Autism, pretty vague really. It mentioned things like, resists eye contact, rocking, lining up of items. It didn't really seem to fit for me, Megan looked me in the eye.......just me not anyone else my mom said Megan doesn't rock...... but she did bounce across the floor on her back.....Megan doesn't line things up.....she just reorganizes......no she lines things up my mom said, and she was right.

So I made another appointment with our Dr. to discuss the possibility of Megan having Autism. During our appointment the Dr. stated he didn't really know anything about Autism, and would send us along to the Pediatrician. At this time Megan was about 18 month old. So off to the Pediatrician we went, after reviewing Megan's file and examining her, she thought Megan did indeed have Autism, but did not want to make the diagnosis herself, so she sent us to a Dr. who specialized in Autism.

So off my mom, myself, Megan and her sister Stephanie went to see the specialist. Yep her Dad had no interest in coming along! Although he did take the day off work to play video games.... OK I can admit a little bitterness here! The appointment lasted a half an hour, he watched her play, in a room the had set up, he watched her interact with her sister, he examined her, and then watched her interact with me. He said it was unusual the way she interacted with me, most he had seen wouldn't interact to their parents. BUT......... based on everything he had seen, she had Classic Autism, Moderate..............CRASH the sound of my world coming down all around me, stunned I sat there while he explained, ABA therapy, speech, preschool......and so on. He explained that with ABA therapy they had made great advances in reaching children with Autism, the only problem it wasn't covered by medical, and you had to fly a behaviorist consultant in from California, to train a team to work with her, now we live in Canada! Cost to run this program $60,000 a year! So now there is a program that works but I can't afford it....... I have never felt any smaller as a parent then that moment. Just as we were leaving the office, he said on more thing, and I have carried this through the years, and shared with many parents of newly diagnosed children. He said " GO HOME AND MOURN THE LOSS OF THE CHILD YOU THOUGHT YOU WOULD HAVE, SO YOU CAN ACCEPT THE CHILD YOU DO HAVE" I did accept Megan, but he was right when your child is born you have all these hopes and dreams for them, and a diagnosis like this alters those dreams, so you have to create new ones. I have to tell you I have met a lot of parents over the years who have not accepted the child they did have, holding on to old dreams, never embracing new ones. It is very sad see.

So we left the office and headed back to the car, and there in the underground parking lot it hit me so hard............. I fell to my knees and cried like a baby.....I cried, and cried. My mom embraced me with a hug, and an assurance that everything would be OK, you know the only way a mother can. And that was it we have never looked back, we have embraced every moment along away, the good ones and the bad ones. So there you have it, Megan's journey had begun, and what a beautiful journey it has been to date!

I have to sign off as I am feeling a little overwhelmed, it's been a very long time since I revisited this chapter of the story.

I will leave you with another poem

It's Spelled Wrong!
By Donna Cooper

A mistake has been made.
The word doctors and neurologists
use to diagnose our children is autism,
but it should be AWEtism.
Just think...

Awe at my daughter's progress.
Awe at each accomplishment.
Awe that we've been blessed to be
part of a miracle
Awe to see God's hand at work in my
daughters life.
Awe to meet such wonderful people.
Awe for each little step in the right
Awe for the love I never knew I had.

It's not Autism, it's AWEtism!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

A Little History!

As you will notice there really hasn't been any mention of Megan's father so far, although we were married, we separated when Megan was 3. Her father wasn't much a part her life, he still doesn't really recognize that she has autism, needless to say I pretty much raised her on my own. Until that is I met Jason, what an amazing man he is and you will see that as the story unfolds. Any other man would have walked away, but instead he welcomed both girls with open arms!

I just wanted to bring everyone up to speed before I go into the next chapter. I do have to say this has been an incredible journey and I am so eager to see what is next.

Here is another poem that I love,

Special angels

(Juanita Vaughan Hopkins)

Special children are just
Angels in disguise.
Sent to fill our hearts with joy
And to brighten up our lives.
They have so much love to give
And bring us blessings untold.
We know those tiny feet
Have walked on streets paved with gold.
We know they were formed
From Heavenly air.
Created by our Father
With gentle, loving care.

Then He sent them to earth
To bless every life they touch.
If we follow their shining way
We can learn so very much.
And as we wonder why
God plans things as he does.
He only sends these little angels
To families with lots of love.
For He knows we will watch over them
And love them very much.
But maybe he sent them here
So they could watch over us.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

In The Beginning

In order to tell you Megan's Story I will have to take you back to the beginning. Megan has an older sister Stephanie, she is 19 months older then Megan. Stephanie was a hyperactive child she was diagnosed with ADHD at 2 years old, she was about as wild as come always on the go and loud, did I mention LOUD. Stephanie was mildly put, wild, I am still not sure how I survived her early years.LOL! Stephanie was a colicky baby, cried a lot and there was little I could do to comfort her, not to mention she never slept, she would sleep for an hour and then be awake for an hour, and by the time Megan was born she still hadn't slept through the night. So needless to say I was a little nervous to be having another baby.

Megan's First Real Cry, My Favorite Picture

Megan was born on September 27th at 7:45 AM, she was 7lbs even and 18 inches long, she was wide eyed and taking in the world. She was totally healthy and gorgeous! The first thing I noticed about her was how content she was, she was the best, never really cried until she was 2 weeks old, just content to be. As time went on Megan progressed normally, she rolled over, crawled and walked right on schedule, and she was just so opposite her sister, where Stephanie was loud Megan was quiet, Stephanie was demanding Megan had a wealth of patience. Please understand I loved Stephanie just as much as Megan, I'm just drawing a picture for you understand, Stephanie also had many great qualities as a baby. In contrast to Stephanie's behavior Megan seemed like my reward. What it really was, was the proverbial calm before the storm!

Stay tuned for the next chapter in The Beauty Of Autism......... it's a beautiful journey.

Megan's First Home