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Featured on Modern Mom: My Daughter with Autism’s Journey to Independence

Ten fingers and ten toes

As a new mother, you have hopes and dreams for your child. You hope your child will be delivered with ten fingers and ten toes. You hope your child will cry, giggle and burp. You hope he or she will crawl, walk and eventually run. You even dream your child will grow up to be happy, healthy and successful.
But as we know for some mothers, our biggest fear is that all that our child will ever be is just a hope and a dream.

Ten fingers, ten toes, one diagnosis: autism

Within one month of Robin’s birth we knew something was not right. In 1971, my husband and I rejected institutional placement for our infant daughter who was recently diagnosed as severely disabled and later with classic (severe) autism. The doctor said to us, “…as long as she’s progressing, be thankful…any progress she might make in childhood will regress as an adult.” Scared and in disbelief, we chose not to accept his negative diagnosis - we chose not to believe the limited potential of our daughter.

At the earliest stages of Robin’s autism, my husband and I overcame our first challenge - we just wanted to stop the wild screaming, rocking and self-injurious behaviors. We did not know if she could develop beyond what we saw...

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