“I want her to know that the word AUTISM doesn’t define her…”


“At six months old we started to realize one of our daughters wasn’t developing as she should..  She wasn’t moving very much and stayed curled up in a ball like a newborn.  She was diagnosed with hypotonia, which is low muscle tone.  It can be caused by many things, some severe.  To this day we don’t know what caused hers.  She basically doesn’t make muscle the same way we do and will always have a lower amount of muscle compare to other people her age.  With the help of physical therapy she was able to catch up to her sister.  She will never be an athlete but she can do most things other kids can do sometimes just a little differently.  I figured no big deal we can get through this.  Then at 1 year she started talking and then mysteriously stopped.  She would bite herself and me and have horrible meltdowns that I could not fix.  I felt so lost and out of control but everyone said it was fine and nothing was wrong.  They kept telling me I was just a worried first time mom but my heart felt there was something more going on.  At age 2 still no speech and the meltdowns were getting worse.  She couldn’t tolerate certain places or large crowds.  Noises bothered her and sometimes even touch.  I finally insisted that she be evaluated.  She ended up being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  It was hard at first but with therapy and family support she has come a long way.  She is verbal and very intelligent.  She is loving and funny and I am so proud of the progress she has made.  I want her to know that that one word AUTISM doesn’t define her.  It isn’t all that she is or can be.  It might make it harder for her to navigate social situations but she can do anything anyone else can.  People hear that word and judge her.  It drives me crazy the negative connotations that can be associated with one word.”


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