When Evelyn was about two years old, a family member asked me if I thought evelyn could be Autistic. At first I thought, “No way.” I was surprised that she even suggested it. Why would she ask me that? Then she explained herself, “ It would explain why she doesn’t look at me when I call her name.” The rest of what she said faded into background noise as panic set in. I called my step-mom. “What do you think? Could this be true? Oh my God, what if it’s true?” She kept reminding me the things Evelyn could do. And that everything would be okay.
I called Evelyn's pediatrician and made an apointment for Monday. The doctor did a screening and said that it was possible that she had Autism. My heart sank, my mind raced, but I stayed strong and professional. “What’s next? What should I do?” She referred me to a physiologist to have Evelyn tested. She also told me about speech therapy and other services. I made her an apointment for Speech therapy the next day. I decided to wait to get her diagnosed. I thought all the things she was delayed in was because of me. She didn’t talk because I didn’t push her hard enough to. She didn’t want to play with me, because I didn’t play with her enough. I never took her around kids, that is why she didn’t know how to act around them. I thought I could give her a year to catch up and I would do everything right. I was afraid. I started watching Evelyn’s every move. Everything that seemed wrong made be break down. I cried every time she would do something repetitively. I cried every time she wouldn’t look at me when I said her name. During nap time I would sit in her door way and cry until she woke up. I felt like the baby I had been raising had died. She was gone forever. I felt lost. Most of all I felt guilty for feeling the way I did.
When you have a baby your mind races with all the possibilities your baby will have. She will be so smart, kind, and witty. She will talk to me about friends, boys, her hopes and dreams. She will be strong, independent, and capable. She will have a great job, a home, and she will bring a light to the world. You assume your baby will be born healthy, full term, and “normal.” When the word Autism was mentioned all of those things I just thought would happen faded away. New thoughts flooded in. Will she be able to live on her own one day? Will she work? Will she read? Who will help her when I die? Who will love her when I am gone? Who will protect her when I am gone?
Evelyn was tested for autism a couple weeks ago. She has Autism. For the last couple years I have been afraid that if she was labeled she would never have a chance to be those things I thought she would be when she was born. Now I know that is just not true. Evelyn can still have all of those things. She is smart, kind and witty. She is extremely independent, srong and capable. She brings light to the world in ways that I never thought possible. She will okay. I have not lost my child, I found her.
Please come walk with Evelyn and I May 4th. Help me show the world how bright Evelyn shines.