As I wake in the morning, I start to think of the piles of to-do’s encompassing me. My Heart rate amplifies, my shoulders tighten, and I tell myself “Jen breathe”. I truly accept that life has many adventures, some, very, very, difficult. However, the difficult adventures can help us learn and grow.
My personal goal in life is to make sure my hard challenges end with great lessons learned and bright smiles. Not that the pathway is not tough, some-days tearfully tough but those are the days that make us stronger. So, every morning I tell myself to slow down and focus on the beauty and blessings that surround me. I then look over and typically see the biggest surprise that somehow snuck into my bed. Oh Brooklyn, adorable as always.
My daughter Brooklyn is my third child. She just turned 9 this last December, her two older siblings are now 21 and 23. They are already grown and independent, so enjoy the children while you can!
My surprise angel Ms. Brooklyn was diagnosed with autism when she was a little over 2 years old. Her delay in speech and over-stimulation in busy areas was the definite first clue. I remember the night well that sparked my full attention. It was when she was about 17 months old. Brooklyn sank to the floor in the kitchen with her hands over her ears, screaming and crying like it was hurting her terribly.
The next day I made calls, scheduled appointments, and took the first step on this unexpected, complicated process. “On the spectrum” refers to a specific set of behavioral and developmental problems and challenges. The characteristics of someone on the autism spectrum is incredibly unique. Some of the most common effects is social reactions, sensory sensitivity, and emotional reactions.
My hope in writing this blog is that it can help others find the resources and services available. Help others feel a little more at peace in the crazy world we live in. Help you understand that you are not alone. Life is full of ups and downs. The key is knowing how to get through the down times. As with anything, it is knowing where to start and who to talk to along the route.
February 2016 I was struck with another unexpected venture, HSV1 Encephalitis and Meningitis. This is a type of infection which happens when a virus enters the brain. People typically carry Varicella-roster virus or the (chicken pox virus) and are unmindful and unaware that it could somehow get to your brain. How this virus gains access to the brain is not known. There are many different variations of Encephalitis, some being more severe and life threatening. My version was caused from the chickenpox which I had when I was in sixth grade.
The virus sits dormant in your system forever. It can turn into shingles or in super rare cases it makes it thru your scull and to your brain. Average of two in a million people get hit with this rare illness, me being one of them. My journey and recovery have been difficult as you can imagine, and I will never be same and that is ok. This has simply made me even stronger.
Why do I reference my illness? This may seem irrelevant to the autism spectrum or my knowledge of it, but I assure you it does. My awareness of the brain, its capabilities and limitations is so much clearer now. I’m more understanding and patient with my daughter and I can personally relate to many of her frustrations and struggles.
My stories and knowledge shared here will be about Brooklyn and my experiences, some of which will shock you, make you laugh, cry and ultimately help you understand you are not alone. We all feel alone at times, but promise you are not. My page will include enormous Links and resources. Keep a watch for further postings and spread the word. It is so important to be here for each other. One moment at a time.