The Faces of Autism: Meet Kadence

Meet Kadence, a friendly 13 year old girl diagnosed with autism when she was 8 years old. Her and her mom lived in Fargo, and a daycare provider noticed that Kadence had some struggles. Her mom took her to a couple different clinics, but they would say “maybe” or “probably”. Finally she got the diagnosis.

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Kadence is very lovable once she gets to know someone. She is happy most of the time, friendly, caring, and very creative. She has a great imagination and can remember things for a long time. Kadence is a blue belt in Taekwondo at Roughrider Academy in Mandan. She loves to draw, color, and make stories. Crafting and building are some of her favorite things. She enjoys playing with Legos and with her new support cat, Patches. She will be taking swimming lessons soon.

Kadence struggles with social situations and social skills with kids her own age. She can carry on conversations with adults just fine, but with her peers is a different story.

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Some of the highlights and unique challenges according to Kadence’s mom “Kadence is high functioning, she's just like any other "normal" child but with extra bonuses. She has taught me so much in life, like to live a simple life. She gets excited when we go to her favorite restaurant or when she gets a smoothie.
I'm a single parent, so raising a child by yourself is hard, yet alone special needs. I have to work around her schedule. Mondays she has therapy, Tuesday it's Taekwondo, Wednesday it's another therapy, Thursday is Taekwondo again, so my schedule is all over the place. Raising a girl with special needs, going through puberty and all that life throws at a woman, has been hard for her to understand, we've read the books, but it's still tough.”

Kadence’s mom about their experiences “Having an Autism diagnosis scared me at first. I was worried about all of the "struggles" she would have in life; however I have a huge support team in my family and friends as well as other parents. She's stronger than she looks. I want people, mainly kids, to know she's more than a diagnosis. Get to know her and she may become your best friend.
"Normal" is a dryer setting, and my child is MUCH more than a diagnosis, she has "different" needs, not "special" needs.”

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She added “Having a child with Autism has been a blessing, she's taught me to slow down and enjoy life and the finer things in life others may miss. We have our daily struggles like most parents, but I wouldn't want my child any other way. It's not a hinder for her to have "different" needs, it's a blessing.”

If your child was recently diagnosed with autism or you suspect they may have autism, Kadence’s mom would like to give this advice “A lot of people think Autism is bad, its really not. Find another Autism parent, and be each others support system. 1 in 59 kids have it. Boys are more likely to get diagnosed, but girls get it too. Don't ever forget, there are others out there in the same boat as you. Don't feel bad to ask for help. You can do it.”