Hannah was an active girl from the begining.at my 10 wk ultrasound. She was kicking,doing twirls and even waved at us. She has not stopped since. She lives up to her name which in Hebrew means Grace,Mercy and Joy.She is the polar opposite of her older brother who also has Autism. Although with him, we suspected it faintly when i was pregnant because on my ultrasounds the doctor remarked on the size of his head. At that time, studies came out on the link of boys with large heads and autism. From shortly after birth on we discovered delays in milestones and later characteristic behaviors of autism. So, we had started investigating at a early age with him. But with Hannah we honestly thought she was neuro typical because her behavior was so typical even above average at times. She was born 5 weeks prematurely and at 5 weeks after her birth exactly, she rolled over from tummy to back, out of pure stubbornness. because she couldn't see anything going on when she was on her tummy. She loved to play with her dollies even her brothers toys, that was collecting dust she found use for. But, after she turned two, slowly I started to see behaviors that made my heart skip a beat.

At first I thought it was just my imagination, and when i discussed it with my husband he brushed it off. However, I was the one home all day with her while he was at work so as time went on I began to see more behaviors. I knew she wasn't copying her brother because they were actions he did at her age. And, being 3 years in the age difference, and knowing he had stopped doing this stuff for at least two years. So I started to keep a behavior diary for Hannah. I brought those concerns to her pediatrician who felt enough concern to refer Hannah to the Children's rehab center. She met with the pediatric team who also felt her many behaviors i had kept account of, and the ones they saw when testing her with play based tests, to refer her to a local child psychologist. He had the authority to give a certain diagnoses. After 6 weeks of testing, October of 2011, Hannah was given a diagnosis of medium level of autism. We were floored. Even though I had a pretty good idea that she had autism, I guess I wanted to be wrong. And my husband was just speechless. Both of us had seen characteristic signs but didn't want to believe it. Somehow because it felt like we had done something wrong perhaps to cause this in our children. Behaviors like lining up furniture, toy cars according to size, spinning and looking out of the corner of her eyes, not being able to handle the noise of dryers or sounds of the flushers in public washrooms, having her own agenda when it came to pretend play. But, if you asked her to do something even simple like feed the bear, she would line up the cups and put a spoon in each of them or fed herself not comprehending the question or just sticking to her own agenda.

Her inconsistent behavior and destructiveness,many meltdowns that often took place out of frustration to do certain tasks and not knowing to ask for help or look to us for help. Other times out of sensory overload because of more than one of the senses firing off at once. And, being over sensitive in these senses, means sometimes it is is unbearable, which explains her fear of public washrooms with lighting, colors, the automatic flushing and the sounds of the hand dryers sets her in a tailspin. Not wanting to wear clothes and even now in stores she has tried to remove clothing while I have her in the lower part of the cart but I have to explain that she can't do that in public. She complies but is not happy about it. But we talked with the psychologist who diagnosed her and she reassured us that it was not us. She said she had diagnosed children with autism who came from doubting parents and other children who has parents who seems less interested in the child.

Shortly before Hannah's diagnosis I discovered that I had a first cousin who had a daughter with severe autism. So maybe for us it was genetic since we had only done a couple vaccinations with hannah after Noah being diagnosed out of fear that maybe his vaccinations somehow caused it. So that wasn't the case obviously for our children. The psychologist told us that girls present symptoms different then boys and each kid on the spectrum presents differently from each other. So I guess because of Noah we gauged Hannah according to him and figured she was neuro typical. So we stopped the blame game real quick and my husband on the way home said,"Hun, your a wonderful mother, and we are going to love her the way we loved her yesterday before the diagnoses as we loved her a year ago before we had a clue she might have autism and were not going to love or treat her any different now or ever. It's gonna be ok, God has a plan you know this." He was right. I guess I just needed to hear him say it wasn't my fault.

From then on I decided to embrace the autism as I had learned to do with our wonderful son Noah. We enjoy every day God has blessed us with these two children and know deep down we would never ask to change who they are or remove the autism. Autism we tell our kids is their super power! Both kids are so intuitive, loving, gracious, forgiving. Noah is also hyperlexic able to read encyclopedia's and blue ray manuels since he was 4. He began to read and spell at age three. He now reads way above average and seems to understand what he reads most times. Hannah is so balanced and agile, along with her creative nature ,loving to be a little singer, dressing up and pretending both kids are amazing at 3 and 6. We feel that if we were given the chance to remove the autism they would not have such awesome personalities and mind blowing abilities. We work on their behaviors giving them tools to handle frustration and learning to ask for help, language skills and learning how to cope with sensory overload along with learning social communication skills through Intense Behavioral intervention as early as we could possibly enroll them. We also work with them one on one at home.

We have moderated their diet removing gluten, artificial colors from their diet to help with undesirable behaviors. Together, diet and Intense Behavioral Intervention has been working to help our kids to integrate into school for Noah, and typical peer groups for Hannah.They are also learning to play together more all the time and we are blessed when we hear the giggles from them playing together. God planned their life before they were even conceived so why would we change God's plan. It may not be the same as what we had planned but that doesn't mean it is a mistake because with God there is no mistakes as far as we are concerned. Our children are not broken, they are wonderfully made and even the most severely disabled individual has a purpose for God's will. Even if it is just patience and tolerance, that is a huge task to teach the world. It is what it is and we embrace the blessings Autism has brought into our home. We are trusting in God for his daily wisdom and trusting him with our children's future.