Here they are, kids #2 & #4 for me. I had long suspected Dacotah fell somewhere on the Spectrum and had learned some of the signs and red flags, which, in the end, helped MiKynna. It may be an odd thing to hear, that the Autism diagnosis helps her, but it can and does. She is more able to get services than he is and has been given an earlier start to services and help. Because I knew the red flags of Autism, it was caught earlier with MiKynna. I am by no means taking full credit for that, as without a referral from our Pediatrician, it would have been a long fight, jumping through many hoops to get her the help she needs. So, here is my shout out to Dr. Zacher and her wonderful nurse, Diane, for helping and seeing the signs and putting in the referrals we needed.
Having a child on the Autism Spectrum is hard. It is exhausting. It is, at times, completely isolating. Having two is all that times, well, two. So it is so important to have support. Support in the form of family, friends, therapists, doctors, teachers, and your village. I want to thank my village, all of you.
Thank you to all of my family and Kelly's that has stood by, listening to me talk for hours on end about Autism and Autism Services. Among other things, of course. Thank you for all the love, kindness and support you have given me and my family. Thank you for recognizing when I am about to lose my mind and offering me a break. Thank you for checking in on us and asking me how the last appointment or evaluation went. We love you all more than we will ever be able to express.
Thank you to my new found village. Having the support of a local group, Bismarck Mandan Autism Families, has been a true blessing. They are so wonderful and I believe I have made life-long friendships in this group. This group of people who get it. Who don't judge when I feel like I am at the end of my rope. Who celebrate our milestones, no matter how small they are or how late they came. These people who also mourn our setbacks and show nothing but understanding and empathy. I am so glad I found you all!
Thank you to MiKynna and Dacotah's therapists, OT and Speech, at Red Door. In fact, thank you to the ENTIRE staff. Not just the therapists, but support staff as well. You guys are all amazing! I truly believe the progress that has been made with my children has A LOT to do with you. You all are irreplaceable. I don't think I could ever talk highly enough of you. This goes for the entire team at Red Door, as we have worked with almost everyone there. The love and passion you show for these children, the way it feels like you are not only professionally but personally invested in their successes and progress, is more than I could hope for.
Thank you to MiKynna's Early Intervention team. You all are amazing and we love you! All of you! Her teacher, Jane, that comes in to our home on a regular basis, working with MiKynna and giving us suggestions to help her. Her caseworker, who comes and helps us with services and truly looks at the big picture and helps us get what we need, always quick to offer help. And of course the Speech and OT that come for the quarterly check-ups and evals and offering even more ways to help!
Last, but certainly not least, those few friends that have stuck by, even if it is an occasional text to let me know you are still here for us. I haven't been able to see you or be there for you much lately, but true friends understand and don't hold it against me!