Photo: Carolin D. palmer

I have a 6-year-old daughter that was diagnosed with autism a few years ago. Jordan is a beautiful and brilliant child with so many wonderful qualities. It was shortly after coming into our family at 19-months-old that we started to experience some difficulties transitioning her into a typical routine. We faced many struggles at that time, and on occasion we still do. With lots of love, understanding, consistency and therapy she has adjusted to her daily life with very little evidence of any “disability.”

Her autism isn’t something I think about or give much weight to until something like this comes up. I had someone ask me who my daughters doctor was that diagnosed her autism. I knew right away they were thinking she may have been missed diagnosed. This person has only seen my daughter a half dozen times and only for a few minutes each visit.

Jordan’s autism was not taken lightly when first diagnosed, in fact I requested a second evaluation a couple years later to confirm it was correct. Her evaluation was not just done by one doctor, she was evaluated by a team and they tested her in many areas of development. When people see Jordan they don’t see autism because she does not outwardly appear “disabled” or a more favorable term as my cousin would say “differently abled” (I prefer this term). I, along with several other people from our community, have worked with Jordan daily for the past 4 1/2 years to get her to where she is today. We took the time to get to know her and understand her.

We do not define Jordan by her diagnoses and I don’t want anyone else to either. I don’t usually speak out about what it is like for us at times but today I am going to. Jordan has difficulty communicating with others, she has melt downs, she throws things, she lashes out, and has impulse control disorder. Jordan is process delayed and requires information ahead of time before she can switch tasks or she will become overloaded and may even act out violently. Jordan does not display negative behaviors very often anymore but it is not because she does not have autism, it is because we understand her, we know her triggers, we give her time before we set expectations in place for her, we all live life around her and her needs because she needs us to.

The best thing I can give Jordan is a clear understanding of herself and her autism, not a reversed diagnoses because that would only rob her of who she truly is. We do not work to fix her, we work to make her the best Jordan she could be!

These are the things I admire about Jordan, She is loving, kind, helpful and always smiling. She is brilliant and can outsmart the entire family. She is a risk taker and she has very little fear. She is beautiful, she appreciates people and the things they do for her. Jordan is one of the most real people I have ever met. She does not try to be better than others she just tries to be a better self and if that means she “looks less autistic”, then so what!

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