Through these 24 years of having our daughter Sarah blessing our life, people have asked me what was it like raising Sarah? To which I reply “What do you mean was?” We feel like we still are raising Sarah even though she is an adult and living in a fully staffed home.
We see Sarah a lot and we are still her guardians and have the final say so on her care. We call her nearly everyday and if we don’t call her she calls us. So it still feels like we are still raising her to a degree. That is ok though because we want the final say.
So, raising Sarah has been a great challenge in our lives. When she was diagnosed with Autism back in 1991, we had no clue what that word meant.
I had no idea on how to handle this challenge, and I am not sure anyone is quite prepared to hear the words “We believe your child has Autism” or any challenge for that matter. When I heard this I went numb and in over drive, because I was going to find the cure for this Autism word that doctors say my perfect little girl had.
My husband went into complete denial saying, he believed that she was just slow and would overcome it. He of course learned what Autism was and has dealt with it as best as any of us can.
That is how we started out on this ever-changing but very routine walk called Autism.
Our two older daughters bless their hearts were stuck in between the craziness of their whole world being changed, and trying to have some normalcy lives.
Sarah was diagnosed with High Functioning Autism with low IQ and low muscle tone. Later she was diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome, Bi-Polar, Seasonal Effective Disorder, Partial seizures and Psychotic Episodes.
We have gone through all of the craziness of doctors and teachers that did not have a clue on how to help Sarah because her needs were so many. I on the other hand thought that the “professionals” should know exactly what to do for her and help me make Autism go away.
We have gone through the meltdowns and being kicked out of stores and Churches (yes, I said Churches) because of those meltdowns. I would get up everyday determined to be the happy mother I used to be before the Autism word was in our lives, and everyday I would fail in epic proportions.
We have also gone through all the times that Sarah would just take off. She only required 3hrs of sleep and on those odd occasions when we would drift off to sleep she would figure out the locks on the doors and windows and she would be gone. Amazing that she was diagnosed with low IQ but she could figure out intricate mechanical things……..hummmmm.
I think one of the hardest things to go through on raising Sarah was when she would have psychotic episodes and try to harm herself or us. We then had to make some very tough decisions, because at that time our health was not very good.
Raising Sarah has been one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences in my life. If I can help anyone that is going through these trying times right now with their family member I will.
I am not claiming to have all of the answers, but I will never stop researching and finding things that will help Sarah be comfortable in her own skin.
People have told me that Sarah would not be as well off as she is, had it not been for us working with her day and night. People have also said that they were sure that they could not handle something like that. Most of the time people would just give us demeaning cruel looks, or make snide remarks.
I have to tell you, it is only by the Grace of God that we all have gotten as far as we have. Sarah knows that God has protected her on a lot of occasions and she thanks him for it. Her faith is remarkable.
The next time you see a family going through a crisis of sorts in a store, church or another place. Don’t ridicule them, have compassion on them and ask them if their is anything you can do. These families/children will often feel isolated so an act of kindness would probably be greatly appreciated. I know it would have been for us.