Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Julianna, Part 3: The "Breaking Point" Phase

There comes a time when fears, denial, they begin to eat at your insides. And no matter what you try to force your mind to believe, your heart and soul overpower it, and tug at you, until you feel like you're going to explode. This is how I felt in the early months after Julianna turned 3. Something wasn't right. As much as I wanted to continue saying she was just fine, I couldn't go on like that.

But the problem was, I didn't know where to turn. Autism just didn't seem like the answer to me. What else was there? She had some classic autism signs, like arm flapping and head shaking, but I knew she was all there. When I looked in her eyes, I connected with her.

I talked openly with family during this time. I remember having a conversation with one family member, saying I thought Julianna might have a new type of disorder yet to be discovered, and that it would be named "The Julianna Syndrome." She just didn't seem to fit in any one category, and for this reason, it was easier for me to deny that she had anything wrong.

So I went on this way, for a few months, knowing something wasn't right, but having no idea what. Doctors would just say she had mild delays, and would catch up in time. Every video or article about autism during that time period didn't describe my little girl. I felt like I was alone, in a dark room, wanting to get out, but having no light to guide me. Even my prayers were not being answered yet. It was a very trying, hopeless time.

Until one day, my mom called me. She was excited to tell me about a conversation she had with a good friend from our previous hometown. Her son, at the time age 7, had just been diagnosed a few years prior with Sensory Processing Disorder. As my mom began to describe the typical symptoms, it was like that light in the dark room was finally turned on.

She then told me about a book called The Out of Sync Child by Carol Stock Kranowitz. I devoured that book. And I mean, I really did. Imagine feeling starved for the right information for years, and finally getting a taste of it. I didn't just want a taste, I wanted a feast. And this book did just that. If any of you are seeking answers, and aren't sure where your child might fit, this book could have the answers you need. From the book:

"SPD can cause a bewildering variety of symptoms. When their central nervous systems are ineffective in processing sensory information, children have a hard time functioning in daily life. They may look fine and have superior intelligence, but may be awkward and clumsy, fearful and withdrawn, or hostile and aggressive. SPD can affect not only how they move and learn, but also how they behave, how they play and make friends, and especially how they feel about themselves."

So it was her central nervous system. That explained why she always wiggled her hands and feet as a baby, like her body was always charged with electricity. It explained why she had trouble functioning in daily life, or would withdraw, or sometimes even be aggressive. Now that I could finally shed some light on my situation with Julianna, I entered a new phase in my role as her mother. But it didn't mean things got any easier, just...busier.


  1. Okay Kera..I JusT Want To Keep Reading, But You Keep Us Hanging! I Remember This Time Like It Was Yesterday...TryIng To Figure Out Our Julianna. And, What A Darling Picture...don't Think I Have Seen This One. Can't Wait For Part 4!!

    1. Haha, I have to write in small segments--my life is too busy to do more than that! I wrote this while she rode her horse yesterday. I find little moments to do it, and it's not easy! Part 4 will be in a few days.