I made sure I read each childs story before writting about my daughter. All I can say is FINALLY we are not alone! Some of the stories remind me of my daughter so perfectly, that I feel as though they are actually writting about my daughter. Here is her story...

Reyisa was born right on time, no problems at all and her skinned glowed right from birth like she was already 2 months old. She was a quiet and an alert child who gave me no cause for alarm. I never had any problems with feedings or really anything for that matter. She was perfect to me. When she was two her personality changed and she became very abusive toward me to where I would carry bruises along with her. She would throw herself down constantly, scream or lash out. She didnt speak though and wouldnt really interact with me. Being that she was my only girl ( I had three older boys before her) I innocently thought that maybe it was just because she was a girl. I had never heard about Autism.

Then one day a friend said those words to me I will never forget " I think your daughter is Autistic". I denied it. I didn't believe it. I didn't know what it was but I KNEW my child didn't have this Autism. She went on to explain it to me because she herself knew a autistic child and was some what familiar with it. I remember shaking my head No as she pointed out EXACTLY every thing my daughter did do. I stayed in denial for two months till finally Reyisa had thrown a fit so bad that one of her legs was bruised so horrible I knew I had to find out what the problem was! I realised I had to get out of my self denial party and do what was right for my angel. So as the other people said you get told finally by a doctor that she does have it and they start setting up this and that. It was a whirlwind. I was spinning right along with my daughter. Actually we were both lost in Autism for awhile. Finally I put my foot down to balance myself and I started asking questions. Problem was.. no one knew anything. Didn't know where it came from , didn't know how to really treat it, didn't know how to cure it.

Talk about being confused, I realised that I was moving in undiscovered territory and my daughter was the one at risk if I made the wrong choices. I constantly blamed myself. Going over each thing in my memory of what I ate what I did physically, how many times I got sick while pregnant. I emotionally and mentally tore myself to pieces with this guilt. It was a emotional roller coaster. This time I put the other foot down and started walking emotionally. I asked questions more on the short term rather then the long term and realised that I had to work in small doses. I had to crawl before I walked as they say. So when I met with people to show me how to work with Reyisa, and all the methods they used I realised as Reyisa's mom that these methods werent practical to me. Life is not a schedule, Life will not stop to wait for a certain time to have supper or go to bed. Things ALWAYS pop up in life that can wreck your day. I realised I had to raise Reyisa JUST like her brothers. I had to expect from her what I expected from her brothers ( just have more patience with her though). So I rolled up my sleeves and started my own Autistic plan. I basically threw out all the good advice the "people" gave me and learned to crawl right along with my daughter.

Now please understand. The therapists and doctors were wonderful and helpful in many ways. I listened and believe me I Thank God they were there to at least hold my hand and help me when I felt all was lost but...... I was the only one who knew MY daughter personally. Just like each mother knows thier own child. You can't put all children in a box and expect them to be all the same. Each child either Autistic or not is different and I had to break the mold and raise and teach Reyisa as best as I could. So I did. I didn't let her stare off. I got in her face and made her make eye contact with me. I wanted her to see me. I demanded for her to see me. I hugged her constantly even when she was a limp rag in my arms. Never responding to my touch. Sometimes it upset her but everytime I told her I loved her and how much she meant to me. I talked to her constantly, asking questions and pointing out objects all the time so she could learn the right way to say and understand what they meant. I bought educational movies, toys to keep her brain soaking and I made life as fun as possible. I constantly took her out in public and exposed her to life, places and people. Anything educational to visit. Even a trip out in the yard was a an excuse to teach her about bugs and trees and grass ect.

Understand that even though she wasn't responding to me I KNEW in my heart she was soaking everything up. She was hearing my voice, she was seeing my face , she was feeling my hugs and kisses. I was an object in her life that wouldnt move aside! I made my presence known. I was the teacher and I was in control and she was going to learn. On the inside I was terrified, I was nervous and often doubted my plan and I can honestly say I have shed enough tears over the years to fill a pond. I couldn't mess this up, this had to work! I was determined not to let Autism rule our lives. We were going to rule it! Now let me tell you just as the other mothers said, hearing the word "mommy" come out of her mouth was the best thing in the world to hear. It was so wonderful I cried.

The day she hugged me back I get choked up even now at the emotion that overcame me that day. Finally the struggle, the work , the over all intensity of the situation was starting to show rewards. Small ones but HUGE in so many ways. Over the years my daughter and I have fallen , scratched our knees, bleed and cried to come to where we are today. I have had my doubts over my " plan" and spent many nights terrified to the bone of making a HUGE mistake. Believe me each thing I came up with, some didnt work and set us back for awhile but the determination to break that barrier was more important then to give up. I found a way to make something work.

One day I went to a parent teacher conference and she is going on and on about how Reyisa is doing so great with her school work and how she is far ahead of her grade in alot of the courses she took which was great to hear but I already knew she was extremely smart. I wasnt surprised. What was the moment that made me actually bust into tears of joy was when the teacher starts talking about Reyisa and her "best friend" in class. My daughter had broke the barrier and had a best friend. She had made a step socially! It was such a joyous moment. Understand I am not a person who cries much but these moments brought me to tears in my life. Reyisa is now nine and has turned into a wonderful active young lady. She has determination, a want for learning and is a social butterfly everywhere we go. Kids want to be around her and play and Reyisa is the most affectionate child in my family. She constantly tell everyone she loves them and she shocks me all the time with the things that come out of her mouth. She now answers most of the questions I ask her and communicates almost to the point of any other nine yr old. She has had a crush ( Sigh) and she also loves to sing and sing in front of the school during school concerts.

I could go on and on just like any other mother but I will stop. I will say that the course that Reyisa and I took together was hard, scary and most times it seemed we only had our small family to hold onto. I have had another child since Reyisa and she adores him as he does her. Funny thing though, she is just as demanding toward her little brother as Me, her dad and her older brothers were toward her. She is loving yet firm and will make him learn even if he gets mad. She will correct you and make her tell you the right answer all the time lol. I still don't understand fully why I was so blessed in my life with these beautiful children and given one with autism but all I can say is that I have learned patience, determination and the will to survive better with them. Our little family pulled together and we showed " Autism" we were a force to be reckon with.

Now understand we still have alot of work to do. Reyisa's social skills aren't where we want and sometimes she takes a step back and throws a tantrum and we have our rough week or weeks but its not constant like before. I treat her exactly like I do the other kids and Reyisa doesn't even know she is Autistic. I had to take control and for a person who before Reyisa was born was laid back and went with the flow this was a HUGE step on my part too. I had to change to help my daughter change. For you mothers who read this.. do what works for your child, personally I don't think there is a right or a wrong way... there is your child's way for them to learn but keep your chin up , cry if you need to, go outside and howl at the moon, vent to a friend what your feeling and please dont blame yourself.

There is a reason for this we just haven't found out that reason yet. Thank you other Mothers and you young beautiful ladies with Autism for sharing your stories. I felt connected for the first time in reading them.