Dear Mom of a Child with Autism, | Sayville Patchogue Moms

It’s April, the month of Autism Awareness. For the next 30 days you’ll see blue illuminate Facebook and Instagram profiles. You’ll find puzzle pieces on just about anything sold to promote and spread awareness. But in your house, in your family, Autism isn’t just a month long event. Your precious child is a gift worth celebrating everyday, for 365 days, for every year to come. I want you to know that, I see you, I see your child, I see your struggle, and I know what you go through.

My heart breaks anytime I see people stare at my family, silently judging what my daughter may or may not be capable of. I break knowing that other people do not understand my daughter’s lack of communication. I break when my child just wants to play with other children but they pull away. I long for the days where every outing doesn’t require an escape plan for a just in case moment. I long for the days where children want to play with my daughter and see her as just another little girl.

I take you back to September 2023, Kennedy is about to start her first day at preschool. My emotions were at an all time high. I was excited for her to make friends but was also nervous about leaving her. Although Kennedy had gone to this school time and time again it was always with me. I had never actually left her alone, for anything. I knew this was a part of life and I needed to be brave for her. We took her first day of preschool pictures with her little sign and then sent her inside. Two hours later I picked her up and all seemed fine, the teachers handed her off with no words exchanged. I took Kennedy to my mother in law’s and returned to work.

After a few hours at work I received a phone call from Kennedy’s new preschool. The teacher left a voicemail stating she’d like to discuss the first day. I called her back right away and was ready to hear about all the exciting things they did. However the phone call was nothing but absolute disappointment. I was told by the teacher, Kennedy was considered a safety hazard for the school. Unfortunately she was putting things in her mouth and one of the two teachers was forced to only watch Kennedy leaving the other teacher to watch all of the other kids. The first teacher continued to tell me that she felt Kennedy’s sad meter was higher than her happy meter and that the teachers both felt Kennedy was unable to continue at this preschool. Here I was at work, receiving this phone call that my 2.5 year old was basically kicked out of school. They left me with no other information and did not offer me any help or words of wisdom. They basically said “sorry, not sorry but here’s your partial refund.”

My world in a matter of just a few minutes was completely sideways, I had no idea what to even think. Luckily I had amazing friends and resources to turn to. I immediately reached out to Laura, from The Nesting Place, and she put me in contact with Jenna, owner of Mindful Sensory Play. Jenna embraced me and Kennedy, she was there to tell me that even after one day Kennedy should not have been asked to leave. Jenna offered Kennedy a place in her nursery program at The Nesting Place. I was once again feeling comfortable knowing that my daughter wasn’t the problem, but I knew there was more going on than just this preschool.
I made the decision to contact Early Intervention and get the services Kennedy so desperately needed. After speaking with the woman at Early Intervention, I knew that I was finally in the “right place.” Kennedy was tested shortly after that phone call and there we had it, on paper, Kennedy was diagnosed with Autism. At first the flood gates opened and my emotions did not stop. I wanted to blame myself, was it my fault? Did I do something wrong during pregnancy or her life to cause this? But I will always remember what my mother said to me. “This is not your fault, this is not about you. This is about Kennedy, you need to put your emotions to the side and fight for your daughter.” And that’s exactly what I did.

The fight that Autism Moms or Parents have to do for their child will never stop. We are out there everyday fighting for services, products, or just basic needs. My daughter has been very lucky and was able to receive at home ABA sessions 5 days a week. Since we started these sessions back in early November I have seen a huge improvement with Kennedy. She is much happier and able to communicate in her own way. She has gained confidence, love and skills from her therapists that she never had before. I am incredibly thankful to everyone that has helped us during this small journey with Early Intervention. Although the journey of life will always come with struggles I am glad I know there are people out there that can help.

I hold no grudges to the preschool that kicked Kennedy out, I hope that no parent needs to go through that traumatic experience. Kennedy will be starting at an ABA school come September and I am truly excited to see where life takes her. This is your small reminder that life is different for every family, for every child, & for every human being. Always remember to smile at others and never judge anyone else. Remind your kids that just because someone may be different or lack communication does not mean they aren’t fun or cool. We can all take time to just be happy!


Resources for Local Parents:

Early Intervention: Suffolk County (631) 853-3100 Nassau County (516) 227-8661

Nassau Suffolk Services for Autism: (631) 462-0386

Consider Donating to Autism Speaks

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