In the very early days of Arizona’s journey with doctor visits and assessments, it was hard to explain to outsiders (family and close friends included) what exactly was going on with her. I was confused by the wide range of diagnostic terminology used to describe Arizona : auditory processing disorder, sensory dysfunction, dyspraxia, receptive language processing delays, just to name a few. Because autism wasn’t initially the diagnosis that Arizona was given, I felt in the dark a bit.
And so, as Arizona struggled with understanding the world around her, I simultaneously struggled with how to present her to the world. Certainly, if folks were curious and the conversation warranted, I would explain that Arizona had special needs and required therapies and other interventions to help her thrive in her environment. But even “special needs” was too broad for some and it often begged the next question : “What’s wrong with her?”
It’s an innocent enough question; even my own father initially referred to Arizona’s special needs as “problems” she would need to overcome (he doesn’t say this anymore). But for whatever reason, I cringe every time someone asks me what’s “wrong” with my daughter. I don’t want to be oversensitive; the question usually comes from a genuinely caring place. Nevertheless, I always respond like this : “Well, there’s nothing wrong with her, but here are some of the challenges she faces …” And I’ll go on from there.
The reality is, I have a neuro-diverse child who was born this way. And, there is nothing wrong with her. God made her this way, exactly as SHE IS. Just as I believe every other child who has come into this world, in any way, shape or form they join us : they, too, are whole and complete and perfect exactly as they are.
Awareness + Compassion = ACCEPTANCE. I am passionate about sharing this message with the world. Please join me!
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