Doris & Lyla
"My name is Doris and I am a mother of 3. My oldest daughter Lyla is 11 years old and has autism. I’m going to start from the beginning. Even though I was a young mom, I was ecstatic to be pregnant! I had my life planned out for me and my little girl. Little did I know my life was in for a big surprise. Lylas birth was a difficult one. I tried a “natural birth” but that didn’t work out and I ended up having a c section 18 hours later due to complications. Lyla was a very colicky baby and she would cry a lot. I thought once she was off formula and eating more solids it would get better but sadly it didn’t. I started noticing something was different about her at around age 1 after she got her vaccines. I have younger siblings and my friends had young kids I would be Around and noticed Lyla wasn’t meeting certain milestones. At around this time Lyla regressed and no longer had eye contact, she even lost the little language she knew. I knew something was not right and took her to the pediatrician. Autism was always suspected but she was not diagnosed clinically until age 2.
The hardest thing about having a child with autism is seeing her struggle. Seeing a child her age and comparing them. Her not being able to talk to me and not being able to tell me what’s wrong or telling me something as simple as how her day went. Knowing there is a big chance, she will probably depend on me for the rest of her life. What will happen to her if I die? Will she ever make friends? Have a boyfriend? How about marriage? No grandkids? These thoughts I rarely think of them, but when I do it hurts. I try to think of the pros. The biggest blessing has been seeing her beautiful smile every day. Other than her autism diagnosis, she is a healthy 11 year old girl. Lyla is my biggest inspiration in life. Despite it all, she never gives up! She is the bravest person I know.
This has not been a easy journey. I would call it bittersweet. My faith in god has been able to get me through all the highs and lows. He has got me through some very dark nights. I can’t forget my amazing support system. I am grateful for my mother and my significant other for being there for me and Lyla 100%. Words can’t explain how Good to us they have been. I am grateful for her therapists (ABA,SPEECH, OT and PT). We make an amazing team. I am grateful for my friends for being there for me emotionally. Even though they don’t understand what I am going through, they are good ears and comfort me when needed. I am grateful for her father, the rest of his family and my father for loving Lyla unconditionally.
When Lyla was diagnosed with autism I was so young and had no idea what was going on. I didn’t know anyone with autism or anyone who had an autistic kid. I didn’t even know what autism was. What I learned through experience, is patience is a virtue. It may not seem like it but it does get better. When Lyla first got diagnosed with autism It felt like the end of the world. I was so distraught and scared for the future. What helped me a lot was researching. I enrolled in the CARDS center and we got an amazing case worker. She recommended swimming classes to me. She told me a lot of children diagnosed with autism are attracted to water and sadly it’s one of the leading causes of death. I didn’t hesitate, we got her into swimming classes and glad to say my girl is a swimmer. One of the first things I did as well was get her into therapies ASAP. Speech and OT and eventually ABA and PT. I believe her getting therapies so young is what has helped with her progress.
I never imagined we would be where we are today neither do I know what tomorrow holds. I do know that wherever life takes my baby girl I will be right by her side and being her biggest advocate. I will do whatever I can to make sure she lives a full happy life. Even with the challenges she may face, she will never face them alone. I will always be by her side. I want other autism parents to know they aren’t alone either and we are all in this together."
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