Michelle is a beautiful 7-year-old old nonverbal autistic child with epilepsy and cerebral palsy. She is very strong willed, loves music, water, and wheels. My joys are watching Michelle learn something new, or playing with a favorite toy. They are simple things others may take for granted like when she lets me kiss her cheek.
The challenges are many, but you live with it daily so it becomes second nature to you. You don’t even realize that it’s what others would call a challenge.
But we have to be constantly vigilant. Michelle will attempt to run off by jumping out of windows, breaking chains on doors or simply sneaking by you. The local sheriff’s office has provided us with a tracking device that they attach to her ankle.
Even when we are sleeping we are vigilant. We wake up and check to ensure she hasn’t left the house or flooded the bathroom.
You miss having the windows open in the spring, doing yard work without hiring a sitter. You cringe when you see your child go up to another child that does not know her and you see the apprehension on that child’s face because they don’t understand why she’s different. That’s my hardest challenge.
By Linda Grady, Mom of Michelle, 7, and Rose, 4