I watched my daughter sleep today. Every few moments, deep in her slumber, I saw her eyes flutter and the corners of her mouth curl into a smile. I could tell she was dreaming of princesses and magic castles, of unicorns and mountains of ice cream. The sight was one to behold.
As the tears fell from my eyes, I fell deeper in love with my little human. She would be 3 the next morning, and the past year of her life had been one of uncertainty and challenges.
Now would be the time that I digress.
Sloane was born full term. She reached all of her early developmental milestones just in time, and she was a bundle of joy and giggles. It was around this time last year that we noticed her development just… stopped. She didn’t call for me, didn’t really respond to her name, and she could be unusually shy in everyday environments. I voiced my concern to family and friends who all told me “she is just in her own little world,” or “so-and-so didn’t speak until they were four, and look at them now!”
I enviously, furiously even, watched the children of my friends develop into chatty, little toddlers who were full of personality. I listened as my friends praised the new song their child learned or how blessed they felt that their kid knew their full name and birthdate amongst other things. There were many parties I didn’t RSVP to because I felt my child would be judged. I watched people who loved Sloane, go from caring to cautious to condescending overnight. I was resentful. I was jealous. I was angry.
So, I sought help.
My precious toddler endured multiple tests and screenings… she stacked the same blocks over and over and over. They tested her ears, her sight, she ran and hopped. “Can you draw a line?”, “Will you draw me a circle?” Over the past 12 months, 5-6 days a week, I took her to speech and occupational therapies. And then… on February 13, 2017, things changed.
Sloane is on the Autism Spectrum.
It felt as if a ton of bricks had fallen onto my chest. I thought hearing those words would be relieving, but I was sad. It was a sadness that I have never felt. I was mourning the loss of who I thought she would be. The feeling of dread lasted much longer than I would have wanted, but it has passed and I have gained a new outlook. Her brain is amazing. She is everything she was ever intended to be- and more. She literally sees the world differently and with a little patience on my part, she can teach me to see it her way too!
Our adventure together is just beginning.
Sloane will be starting school soon, and for nearly 7 hours each day, I will have to allow her to explore the world without me. Am I nervous? Extremely. But if she has taught me anything, she is a smart, strong kid- and the world better get ready for her.
If you feel that your child may be developing at a slower pace, seek help. Services all across America may be free for children under 3 years of age. Autism is lifelong. While there may be no cause or cure, nor a known singular effective treatment, it is treatable. People with autism can make progress through therapy and treatments and can lead meaningful and productive lives. Help is always welcomed, and this is why as a way to show my appreciation to the services made available to me, I now donate to Easter Seals of Nevada. You can also donate to Sloane’s continued therapies or Easter Seals in her name by visiting here!
Happy Birthday, Sloane
enjoy the ice cream mountain!