Thursday, October 31, 2013

J-babe: my oldest red

My first redhead was born on December 6th, 2003, and was placed on oxygen for 9 hours to clear her lungs after having meconium in the womb. She otherwise seemed very healthy and normal, and of course beautiful! She was a good eater and sleeper, and hardly ever cried.

I began to notice that she liked to wiggle her hands and feet a lot, and stiffen her legs and jaw spontaneously. She hated to be on her tummy, and didn't smile as much as we thought she should. She sat up around 9 months old, crawled at almost 12 months, and both these gross motor milestones were a challenge for her. We literally had to put our hands over her arms and legs to teach her how to crawl. She said a few words before 12 months, but started shaking her head and flapping her arms as well.

One day my neighbor knocked on my door when J-babe was just 16 months old and told me, "I think your daughter has autism." She was a speech therapist and worked with preschoolers on the spectrum. I can't even describe the feelings that went through me at that moment. She sat down with me and explained the symptoms she had observed, and I cried, for a long time, and this neighbor I barely even knew just put her arms around me and told me it wasn't my fault, and that everything would be okay. After she left, I did a ton of research, and felt strongly that it wasn't autism. She could TALK. She knew animal sounds! But what this neighbor did was open the door for me to admitting that something just wasn't right about my little girl, and since then it has been a journey for me, figuring out her diagnosis, getting the right therapies, placing her in the right school programs, the list goes on and on. I will be sharing more about how this little J-babe has developed into the lovely young lady she is today.

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