Guys, the last year has been my hardest yet. I’ve been pushed, tested, fearful, hopeful, and exhausted. I’ve cried my eyes out. I’ve gone on lots of walks. I’ve read so many books, listened to so many videos and podcasts, and found the end of the internet researching.
My sweet girl was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in October, just after her second birthday, and woah, the life changes that brought on. A total whirlwind. A funnel of every emotion poured into one cup. But Autism is not a disease or a death sentence. It is a shift in expectations, an outpouring of grace given, and a new way to approach everything we do with Ella. That diagnosis gave us answers to our questions and prayers, and has brought us down a path I’d never expect to find myself on.
Ella has delays in the areas of speech and social interaction. In October, she maybe said two words and a little sign language. She rarely made eye contact, and rarely answered to her name. She has changed dramatically in the last six months, and so have I. She now says close to ten words and tries so hard to say anything I ask her to. She is so much more interactive, she always answers her name now, her interests have varied greatly and she plays with so much more than just blocks and books now. We have a long way to go and a lot more work to do, but we are hopeful we can change her path and give her a brighter future through this hard work.
So, how? Lots of things. All the things, it seems some days. She is on the GAPS diet, so, strictly paleo (meat, vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, fermented foods). She takes supplements and vitamins that her body is naturally lacking (oh so many). An amazing teacher comes to our house twice a week to work on improving Ella’s speech and interaction, and to teach us techniques to pull her out of her shell. We’re seeing a functional medicine, holistic doctor that is MAGIC and we are healing her autism, slowly but surely, in the most natural way. She goes to ECFE twice a week to interact with other little ones her age. I make all of her meals and snacks, and that alone is a ton of work when everything has to be made from scratch, and pre-planned and balanced at every meal.
I’m not totally sure why I haven’t shared Ella’s diagnosis with the world yet. Close friends and family know. I’m not keeping it a secret, it just feels strange to shout it out. I think my biggest fear is that Ella will be treated differently. She is sweet, she is beautiful, she is curious, and silly, and loving. And I am so protective and emotional. But I am also so proud of her, and she is my whole world.
The prevalence of Autism is rising at a rapid rate — 1 in 68 children are now born with it. As April is Autism Awareness Month, it’s important to understand how common this disorder is, and how to support families that are living with it. Please know, the Autism spectrum is vast, and every child on it is different from each other. Ella has delays with language and social interaction, but she does not struggle with overstimulation or stimming (repetitive body movement) like lots of other kids do.
It’s likely that I’ll be sharing little bits of this crazy part of our lives on Instagram or Facebook, and I want to be able to without sounding vague or confusing. And it is totally okay to ask questions if you have them! :) And if you’re an Autism parent, I’m praying for you because it is HARD some days.
So much love,