What do you mean he’s never going to tell me he loves me? He’ll never play a team sport?
How do you know...do you have a crystal ball?
I listened to the doctor’s words as I sat there, tears running down my face. I listened, but I didn’t hear him. I didn’t care. The words meant nothing. My Jonah would beat the odds. At 2 years old, Jonah didn’t respond to his name. He didn’t make eye contact...or talk like the other kids. He crawled like an army soldier on his tummy, instead of on all fours. But he could line up alphabet blocks in the correct order, and all the planets in a line. He had his very own language that only he and I understood. It was amazing, really. Jonah was different. He had Autism. And I had the biggest fight of my life ahead of me.
I knew I had to move quickly if we wanted results; early intervention being our only hope. We did it all. But we were lucky, we could afford the therapy he needed. OT, and speech. Cranial sacral therapy, behavioral modification...I didn’t miss a thing. I wrapped him in weighted blankets, hung him from swings...played in rice, and I even brushed him. I brushed my child with a plastic brush. Hell, if you would have told me to cover him with chicken blood, and hold him upside-down from his ankles...I would have. Wouldn’t you? Anything to help your child. Then we started seeing results...
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And we found our Jonah.
But we were lucky. We had amazing resources, and support. I trusted my instincts, and got to the specialists early...and I never gave up. Never. Where is he now? Ha. On the basketball court at his school, kicking major butt. And he’s captain of the track team, chosen captain by his PEERS. And every, single night he tells me he loves me...even though he’s fourteen. Ok, maybe I have to twist his arm for a smooch, he is a teenager! But he looks me right in the eye, and tells me, “Mom, I love you.” Jonah is a rockstar, and my greatest accomplishment. He has taught me how to be a better mom, and given me strength I never knew I had.
So, because I had such a positive journey, I’m helping other families. Well, trying. I love to talk about Jonah, and his experience...so I got involved with Autism Speaks. If you ever need a resource, they are your go-to. Autism is never an easy topic, but I’m pretty knowledgeable and so are the people at Autism Speaks. And if you are interested in joining me for some fun I’ll be at the Autism Speaks Blue Jeans and Bow Ties Gala on November 4th. It’s one of Jonah’s favorite foundations, he actually has raised bunches of money for them making puzzle piece cookies in our kitchen. The party will be a blast this year, and I promise...I’ll leave the blue frosted cookies at home!
Just remember: early intervention, trust your instincts...and NEVER GIVE UP! Xo j
Jennifer Hurvitz Weintraub is a Charlotte mother & author of The Truth Hurvitz, a blog devoted to telling the dirty truth about being divorced, being single, and dating again. She also shared her story of writing a television pilot of her life in a recent series on our site - http://www.charlotteobserver.com/living/health-family/moms/article69144812.html.