With the diagnosis of Autism now confirmed, we've started a new journey with our daughter. This journey consists of learning and understanding how we can live in her world. Working hard trying to understand her and figuring out how we can get her out of the house having fun, yet comfortable for her where she can enjoy things like other children. Dan had been scoping a kids place in town and noticed about half an hour to closing time it was pretty much empty. This would be their first mission together. The person at the counter was less than pleased to see a Dad and Daughter come in 30 minutes before they were to close. But, Dan explained that this was an experiment and Piper was Autistic so he was unable to bring her when children were around. The teenagers working were confused, probably having no understanding of Autism but they were very friendly letting Piper have free reign over the entire place all by herself (and Daddy). Piper found the section with all of the balls - and sat there just exploring all the different shapes in the room (she loves shapes). She's stand on her head and look at things at all different angles. The quietness of the place was calming for her so there were no tantrums. Dan took her through all the different mazes and even down a huge blow up slide. She laughed & laughed making Dan climb and re-climb as he had to pull himself up this rope while carrying her in his arms. (What a work out!!) But the look on her face as she jetted down the huge steep slide was priceless. The giggles - you can't put a price tag on those. But, most of all she was out of the house and having fun!!! We're learning a lot about children with ASD and its absolutely fascinating and heartbreaking all at the same time. As a parent you worry about your child being made fun of in school or other people passing judgment because they don't understand Autism. I wish that people could look at the world like these kids do, they have this way about things. They use such focus and determination on certain objects I sit and wonder... what are you looking at so intrigued? I wish I could see what you see.
We've had Occupational Therapists, Speech Therapists, different pediatricians, and various other people in and out of our house the past few weeks all observing Piper and taking notes. From what we understand at this point, Piper will probably place somewhere in the sensory piece of the spectrum. They gave us a great understanding of what Piper is going through by 1 analogy I will share with you. "When Piper would have those uncontrollable tantrums, you are right when you say it sounded like a hurt cry. She is hurt. Certain noises will feel to Piper like someone is drilling through her brain. The pain is so severe to try and stop it she will want to hit her head because she doesn't know what else to do to get the pain to stop" At that moment, my heart broke in a million pieces for her, and I thanked God I never reprimanded her for those tantrums. I think the mother instinct is such an amazing gift and we should never deny it! For those parent's and people out there that see a child throwing an unbelievable tantrum, before passing judgment on their parents or that child. I want you to think that perhaps its not a bad parent, or a bad child, but, its a child with Autism just trying to make things feel better.
Erika & Dan Harvey
A blog about our journey through the spectrum with our daughter Piper. Enjoy and feel free to share with others.