Just a Girl: My Daughter’s Journey with Autism
What I want the world to know about my daughter
My daughter is autistic, nonverbal, and has apraxia. She has debilitating anxiety. She has a monkey on her back, and it’s called autism.
It confines her ability to enjoy and experience life. It has robbed her of so many things—relationships, children, and a career, to name a few. This isn’t the case for all autistic people, as it affects everyone differently, with varying degrees.
My daughter has struggled immensely throughout her life. Her differences are at times invisible and other times glaringly obvious.
Autism does not define her. She is a fighter and is resilient. She lightens up the darkest of days. She is pure innocence and authentic joy. I have autism to thank for that.
She is true to herself, bold, beautiful, and full of light.
Autism is a part of her, but it’s not everything she is. It’s her weakness and her strength. She lives within the struggle, but she pushes through it every single day.
She observes the environment and takes everything in. There is a lot she doesn’t understand but so much more that she does.
She understands love and acceptance. She understands kindness and warmth. She hears your tone and notices your facial expression. She has differences, yes, and sometimes it’s hard to know what lies beneath the surface. If you take the time to look, to really see who she is, I promise you will feel her joy, and she will make you smile.
She’s just a girl. My girl.
She deserves everything that everyone else does. She doesn’t have a voice to advocate for that. There are people that will walk by without seeing her. I’ve seen it happen. I know it happens when I’m not there. She’s not an afterthought; she’s a person.
So when you see a girl or boy like my daughter, smile, say hi. Take the time to get to know them. You will get back what you give. My daughter is the greatest joy of my life. I will stand beside her every day to make sure she gets treated with dignity and respect.
I am lucky to have her in my life, and anyone who knows her is as well. Look past the disability, past the autism, and you will see the beauty and joy that shines through her.