The Colors of Hope: A Journey Through Autism and Discovery

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What colours do you see?

I cannot put into words what those five words meant to me, but I’m going to try.
Hope
Fierce
Determination
Unstoppable
My daughter Kya is 13 and on the autism spectrum. She was diagnosed at two and a half.
She was nonverbal.
When my daughter was diagnosed, not knowing if I would ever hear her speak was gut, wrenching, and unless you’ve ever had a child like mine, you could never truly understand the sadness.
In fact, it was her lack of language that let us towards an autism diagnosis. Of course, we did hearing tests and all the things they do first, but in the end, she was autistic.
I dove in, headfirst with all the therapies, but once I found a therapist that truly cared about Kya and was invested in her as a person and not the money our lives changed.
I, like so many parents of a newly diagnosed kiddo, threw my kid into every therapy possible, but in the end it was a matter of helping her communicate whether that be verbally or not. And that’s exactly what we did.
We started seeing Jackie 2 to 3 times a week, including every Saturday and if I’m being honest, I resented our weekends in therapy. It wasn’t fair. I watched my friends take their kids to soccer and dance and ours was spent in therapy.

Now looking back I am so thankful for that time and Jackie.

I’ve written about her extensively. Do I think my daughter would’ve ever found her language maybe but I truly believe that Jackie is the main reason my daughter speaks. She never gave up on her even when I was in my darkest hour and even when I had a hard time believing.
And last night as we stood outside in the bitter cold, because my daughter wanted to look at the beautiful sky, I heard those five beautiful words come out of her mouth. They literally dropped me to my knees and I had instant tears. Tears of joy. Ugly crying if I am being honest.
There’s something about the sky that brings out the beauty of this world through my daughter’s eyes. She is mesmerized by every color, every star, the sun, the moon and everything in between.
Our lives are certainly challenging, especially when our children walk through this world bravely every day when it is not designed for them. But kiddos like mine are the true heroes and warriors.

I will never look at the sky the same way.

There truly is a beauty in this autistic life; you just have to dig deep to find it.
On We Go.
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Jennifer Dunn

Jennifer Dunn Jennifer Dunn is the mother to her thirteen year old daughter, Kya Alexandra. They reside in Vancouver, British Columbia Canada. Outside of her corporate job Jennifer writes and advocate for her daughter on her blog Keeping up with Kya. She also cohosts and Co. produces the Table For Five, No Reservations Podcast. You can follow her on Facebook at Keeping up with Kya and contact her at keepingupwithkya@gmail.com.

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