Before Evelyn was born, one of the worst things I could fathom for my child was autism. I feared it. Maybe it was some sort of premonition. Most likely, it was just a reaction to the increase in attention it got. I really didn’t have any sort of understanding of it.
Ironically, by the time Evie was diagnosed with autism, I was BEGGING the universe to please let it just be autism. Let it be autism and not one of the degenerative diseases for which they were also testing. “Let it be autism,” I thought so often. “I can deal with autism.” And the diagnosis of autism was more than a relief. It was the end of the terror of not knowing. The gripping fear that there was some horrible disease slowly stealing my daughter from me. And it was the beginning of another journey. An opportunity to open my eyes. An opportunity to understand that different doesn’t mean better and doesn’t mean worse.
Evelyn pretty much stopped talking just before her third birthday. She stopped smiling. She went completely flat. Although we welcomed her smiles back about a year later, she doesn’t use her voice to speak.
But don’t think for a second that Evie doesn’t speak. She makes her needs and wants well known. And don’t feel sorry for me because you think Evelyn doesn’t tell me she loves me because she does every time she climbs into my lap, cuddles, and hugs me. And she does this often. As I often tell my husband, love isn’t what you say. It is what you do.
Don’t get me wrong. Autism, for us, isn’t all cuddles and hugs. There is also the racing Evie to the bathroom door that a guest mistakenly left open. Evie is sensory seeking. And one of the ways this manifests itself is Evie’s obsession in submerging herself in water. That includes the toilet bowl. My skin still crawls when I think about the time that happened…it really only takes one time before you make sure that never happens again. Shudder.
I know that autism doesn’t look the same for everyone. But this is part of what it looks like in our family. As we continue on our journey, I am going to try to write a post a week about autism or living with a child that has special needs.
Thanks for reading 🙂