Tuesday, February 19, 2013

a range of emotions

When you have kids you start out thinking that your kid will be president or a Dr and all you see is endless possibility. Babies are endless possibility, they are joy, and love and passion. They are dreams come true and all you want is for their dreams to come true. All you want is for your children to be happy and fulfilled. Every parent thinks their kid is specials and gonna change the world. I've always known Tabitha was special, every time she did anything new I always thought she was the smartest kid in the world. She was the best kid ever and after waiting for her for so long she was the perfect kid. Tabitha is my sunshine, she is the light that came from darkness. She is what I waited so long for. But for the last year her light has had a cloud over it. One I had a hard time dealing with. She has had violent fits, crying outbursts, she changed from my happy sweet girl. I took her to the dr time and time again, but they just said moodiness was normal, she was fine. They blew me off time and again. But I knew something was wrong. Every day I watched her grow further and further away from us, that she was changing.
We dealt with the fits and the violent outbursts, we started pulling away from our friends. We stayed home and stopped doing play dates for fear that Tabitha would hurt someone with one of her fits. We started noticing that when someone got hurt she showed no empathy, she would say sorry and give a hug out of some sort of memorized protocol. We noticed that she wouldn't look people in the eye and when she did catch their eye she would freak out. A few months ago she was tested at preschool, and she was tested at an almost 9 year old receptive vocabulary, but she can't use it, and she gets very frustrated when she can't express herself.
There are other things that we noticed, and we tried talking to drs about, but it was just the same old song and dance from them. I finally decided to switch drs. About two weeks ago I took Tabitha to our new dr to talk about what was going on. Things had been getting worse with her for some time. I had bruises, bloody noses, and dislocated fingers to show for it. I'd had enough, I needed answers. I was tired of being afraid of my child, and afraid for her. I needed help.
I sat down with her dr and discussed my concerns and fears.I finally found someone who would listen. I finally found someone who agreed that her fits were not that of a normal 3 1/2 year old. Then he said what I feared he would say. Tabitha is on the autism spectrum. I think I knew for a while, but I had convinced myself it was something else, maybe bipolar or something like that. Something that can be "fixed" with medicine. I wasn't surprised, but I did cry when I got to the car with the girls. I had a hard time not believing it was my fault. With all the junk science, blaming mothers for having epidurals, and c-sections, and vaccinating their children. Even though I know its not my fault, I still blame myself. I think its natural for parents to think anything that happens to their kids is their fault. But while we have been waiting to meet with the therapist and get some diagnostic tests done on Tabitha, I finally stopped thinking that this was something that "happened" to Tabitha, and started realizing that there's nothing "wrong" with my daughter, her brain just works different than other kids.
For the past two weeks Morgen has been trying some tactics he learned from ABA therapy when he used to worked with a friends son who has autism. They seem to be working. Tonight we met with the therapist, he asked lots of questions and listened to our concerns. He stopped short of saying she is autistic, but said he believed she is on the spectrum. She is high functioning, and he said she seems like with the right interventions, she will be ok. We will go back next week for more evaluations, and to talk about our next steps.
I have a range of emotions going through me for the last two weeks. I'm scared, I worry that people wont be accepting of Tabitha, that she will be shunned because shes a little weird and she freaks out at things most kids would let roll off their backs. I'm happy that we are on a path to helping her. The only thing I want in this life is for my children to be happy. I will do whatever it takes to make my children happy. Now that i have some sense of how to help her, I know we will all be ok.
Over the last few weeks, we haven't told too many people about whats going on. But of the few people we have told almost all have been really supportive. They have been true friends. They have been there for me, and they have loved Tabitha and they have been a shoulder for me to cry on. I'm thankful for our friends who have helped us. I'm thankful for the friends who helped me talk through this, who have shown me what real friends are. There are a lot of emotions going though me, there are a lot of unknowns in our future, but one thing I do know, is that Tabitha is loved.


Unconventional Mommy said...

Good for you for not giving up. I have few friends with children with Autism, its a game changer but you are such a good parent and so strong you can handle this no problem. Have faith you will be given the tools and patience to get through everything and as you said she is loved by everyone who knows her.

Miranda Sherman said...

A Mother's instinct is almost always correct. Glad to hear you stuck to your guns to find a diagnosis. There are a lot of amazing support groups and blogs out there dedicated to autism and spectrum disorders, they may have some advice and much needed support for you and your family.

Maria said...

Keep strong and have love in your heart. Our kids are #1! Good for you for standing firm w/ the diagnosis. I will keep you in my prayers. My friend have autism and aspergers and are very resilient women even with the tough road ahead for them. Good luck!

Mel said...

*great big across the distance one mommy to another hugs*

Several of my best friends have children on the spectrum somewhere. And my BIL is on the spectrum. My own kidlet is bipolar with ADHD and severe anxiety, so while I don't know the exact range of emotions, I'm familiar with them, as I sifted through them while testing kidlet to see what exactly was his *special talent*. LOL

You're right. There's nothing wrong with your beautiful daughter. She just processes the world differently.... in much the same way someone with a peanut allergy process peanuts differently. There's nothing wrong, right, good, or bad. It just is.

You're a good momma. You advocated for her until you found someone whol would take your concerns seriously. Now you'll continue to advocate for her her entire life.

And much of it you'll feel unappreciated. And she might never be able to tell you thanks... in this lifetime.

But you'll have those moments... when she's clear and stable and steady and strong... and can look at you with all the love and gratefulness that's in her heart... because YOU loved her enough to fight for her.

and it will all be worth every sprained finger, every bruise. Every shouting match in the grocery store.

I"ll be praying for you all. For strength. Persistence. Perseverance. And peace.



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