My parents told me that I was a very healthy baby. I slept well, was happy and made all the milestones. But by 3 years old, my parents saw there was something missing that took the smile from my face. I was changed from a happy child into a child that didn’t want contact with the world around me. I didn’t want to play with other children. I obsessed with doing the same every day. I had lots of tantrums, didn’t make eye contact and screamed when things were changing. My parents knew there was something missing and wanted to help me, but they didn’t know which way to turn because I was their first child. They thought, maybe it belongs to the age, so we will wait a time to search for help. But nothing changed, it got worse. Every day was a fight.
When I was 4, I went to school. There were lots of problems, and the teacher told my parents that I was a smart and lovely girl, but there was something strikingly different with me. She told them that I had a strange behavior and couldn’t play with other kids. It was very difficult for me to understand what the teacher expected from me. It was very hard for my parents to hear what the teacher had to say. It changed our lives. “Your child looks like a child with Autism.” Those were hard words to hear, but she was right.
I went to the doctor for a diagnosis and we started with lots of therapies. I was so smart to camouflage my Autism. But one day, I had a tantrum at the doctor’s and he saw there was something wrong, but they didn’t know what. They sent me to the psychiatric institution and I lived there for 3 years. The diagnosis was very hard: high functioning ASD and McDD (multiple complex developmental disorder) a subtype of PDD-NOS. The doctor said I could never care for myself and my behavior would never change. We didn’t believe them. We knew that that this was the start of a long, long road, but nothing stopped us.
My parents did everything for me and we chose the most difficult way. I couldn’t live at home because I needed help all day to get better. I got intense therapies everyday, which I am still busy with at the moment. I make great advances everyday and I am happier with each day. Early intervention is really the key!
It’s very hard for me to have ASD because I am high-functioning. People see nothing on the outside. I am going to a school for children with ASD and studying at a high level. People expect normal behavior, but I can’t give that, so there’s little understanding. “Be normal”, that’s what they say to me and that is really hard to hear. I want to be normal, but I have to fight to live in this society because I experience things in another way.
Nothing is easy for me. I have no friends, I can’t play with other kids and I love my obsessions, like learning in my atlas and school books. Nobody understands my hobby, but I don’t care what they say.
I know that there are many faces of Autism all over the world who are on the same road as me, and they don’t know how to got forward. I know that it’s very hard, but I will let you see that there is hope. Don’t give up. Look at me, there is progress!!
I have accepted my Autism. It’s a part of me and I don’t want to change myself because Autistic people are very strong and pure!! Understanding and acceptance is the cure!!
I also have a webpage: www.jennifer-smits.webklik.nl
Greetings from the Netherlands,