Growing Up

Categories: Parent Perspective

The double digits are approaching for my girl. What’s next for Ady as she’s about to turn 10? Ady was diagnosed with autism and sensory processing disorder at age 2. She uses a device to communicate along with a few signs and some vocal speech (that I am very grateful for).

Thinking back,  it’s been such a journey so far. When she was newly diagnosed at two everything was cute. Challenging, but cute. She  was this chunky little nugget, with long/thick hair and bright blue eyes. She carried her stuffed dog everywhere with her and it just seemed that everything she did was unbelievably adorable.

I didn’t feel worried about fitting in, especially in public because toddlers always do stuff out of the ordinary and we don’t think twice about shoes being taken off or meltdowns in stores. 

Things like repetitive play or chewing/mouthing for sensory needs were pretty common. Being able to keep up with her and behaviors were different, but I did what I had to do. She was tiny- I could keep up. 

Now I have a little lady  who is about the same size as me. She’s almost as tall as me and very strong. Same bright blue eyes and a smile that just grabs your heart. I know some things will get more challenging and difficult as time progresses and also the unknown can be scary. Even for typical kids. I accept that. 

I try to live in the moment and focus on all of her achievements. One morning last week when I heard her say her name repeatedly. It was so clear. That made my day because it rarely happens, but it’s everything. I love hearing her voice even if it’s brief. 

The other day when I noticed that she had made her own sandwich (and even though she left a peanut butter covered knife in the drawer) I was ecstatic over it!  She’s growing up. She’s  becoming more independent. I want that for her. To be able to make food when she’s hungry and to be able to learn self care skills.

There’s no time for dwelling on the negatives. The things that we just aren’t able to do yet because there is so much growth and so many triumphs to be grateful for.

I want to be that special needs parent that is an open book. Someone who can reflect and help others. Parents of newly diagnosed kiddos approach me pretty often and I love sharing through experiences and helping in any way I can. I still get “I’m sorry” from time to time. It’s nothing to feel sorry about. It’s just a different way of life. It’s an emotional journey of course, but I feel as she grows I’m able to accept and become stronger myself. She needs that and deserves that. 

She’s happy and healthy and forever learning. There’s no limit to what she can achieve when she’s surrounded by people who love and care for her. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for my Ady girl.❤️

Susan Bitler
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