The Faces of Autism: Meet Isabella
Meet Isabella ("Bella"), a sweet, empathetic, extremely determined 6 year old girl diagnosed with Autism. If you followed Faces of Autism last year, you may recognize this beauty! Here is last year's story on Bella.
Bella was diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum at 3 1/2 years old. She had delayed speech, echolalia, and preferred to play alone. Her parents also noticed that she was afraid of sudden, loud noises and preferred repitition and routine.
Bella has severe eating issues with oral aversions. This means that she cannot tolerate different textures of foods, among other things. Her parents are happy to report, even with these issues, in the past year Bella has learned to feed herself! She is now almost completely potty trained and her fine motor skills have improved. In fact, she is now able to write her own name!
In the past year, Bella has also learned to communicate better, often using appropriate verbal scripted speech as well as using an iPad and PECS to make her wants and needs known. PECS is a Picture Exchange Communication System. Which is using pictures to communicate wants and needs. Bella has also become less rigid with transitions and changes to her schedule.
From Isabella's parents:
"Having a child with autism is both a daily challenge and a reward. There are often struggles and difficulties to overcome, but watching her succeed and improve brings us so much joy. Isabella may not yet be able to answer some simple questions, but she understands everything said and the mood in which it is said. It may take more work to make a deep connection with Isabella, but once she bonds with a person, she shows unconditional love and attachment."
Isabella's sister has helped her grow and accept others just as much as any amount of therapy she has gone through, her parents say. They truly appreciate what might be the simplest accomplishments for others as sometimes they are huge milestones for Isabella.
If you suspect your child may have an Autism Spectrum Disorder, there are great supports in the community. One of my favorites is BisMan Autism Families on Facebook.
Please feel free to share Isabella's story to help spread Autism Awareness and Acceptance.