September 25 2001, my life changed forever.I met the most amazing, unique girl who Im proud to call my daughter. And it brought a lump to my throat last Sunday when I looked at the young lady she had become, patiently allowing her little brother to “help” her open her birthday cards!
Its been a journey thats for certain! Lititia developed just the same as any other child until she was around 20 months old and then she almost overnight went back to baby stage. I had no experience with children so didnt really think much of it until the health visitor sent us to a paediatrician after Lititias 2 year check up where she screamed and tried to climb up the wall and wouldnt cooperate at all. I knew it was because she didnt understand what was happening and she didnt like the door being closed.
Then a process of evaluations, observations, more professionals than I can remember and keeping diaries of her daily behaviour. They told me it wasnt typical behaviour to want to do everything exactly the same and have everything in the same place, it wasnt “normal” to have no speech or understanding at her age, to scream at noises or smells or lights, and to have the biggest meltdowns imaginable! Thats where I first heard the word Autism and I had absolutly no idea about it other than the film “Rainman”! But we learnt together and life was often challenging and I became very isolated and lost friends but we learnt ways to make our liffe easier…travelling to Exeter listening to one song of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers for example, there and back!!! there is so much I could say about life then but it doesnt really benefit to dwell on negative although ofcourse there were many positives but the point of this post is to fast forward past the numerous years of toilet training, the endless hours trying to search for clothes she may wear, eating waffles for years and only drinking first milk and then blackcurrant, and again Im going on, the point is to celebrate an amazingly Unique 15 year old young lady. she has been at her Special Needs school for 11 years and is doing so well she is even looking towards exams and a catering course! She attends a youth club for special needs children every fortnight where she helps out with making meals and baking. she loves the village we live in and is a big part of the church community where she has made friends. She sets everything up for the services and bakes buns for everyone for afterwards and gives out the hymn books. She is also part of the Flower team and for the first time 3 weeks ago walked to the church herself and help set the flowers up for the Harvest Festival. She has just gotten Baptised, her choice and is only a few days away from being confirmed! Ill put photos of the baptism up in a seperate post.
We face challenges still, daily. We havent slpet a whole night in 15 years! But for anyone with a 2 year old thinking life will never get easier and not knowing how you will get through tomorrow, there is hope. and whilst I still cant go out with friends because my girls wont be left without me, there are a lot more days of smiling then frustration these days. And it will be like that for you soon too.