Lessons from Livia

Lessons From Livia

I am beginning to think that October is our lucky month.

Four years ago in October my daughter started school. The enrollment process was five months from the time of her diagnosis.

Two years ago in October my daughter started using words and sentences I could understand. For the first time in her life she verbally interacted with me.

Last year in October my daughter potty trained. She was four, almost five and I was beginning to believe it would never happen. I was terrified that she would be the child in kindergarten that got made fun of.

And today...today was the greatest achievement in my mind. Today my daughter came home and told me about a friend she made at school. 

As a mother of a child with Autism, I spend more time than I should looking for those silver linings. I guess they help me not be angry at the universe. I stopped a while ago attending "Mommy" groups because among those women the silver linings disappeared. As if it was a contest to see whose child could grow up the fastest.

If Livia has taught me one thing it is that there is no right pace. 

The key to raising a child is not judging them on their developmental progress. The key to educating them is not by holding them to a standard that they may struggle to reach. Do you remember what it was like to be a child? Do you remember your dreams, your passions, your freedom? Do you remember that first time you felt disappointment and failure? Is that a feeling you want your child to associate with learning? 

My husband says I am a hippy, and maybe I am. But, Livia has shown me that despite the odds, she can get there with the right environment and encouragement. They told me she would never talk. That she would always have self destructive behaviors. That she would lack in ability to take care of her hygiene. And that social skills would be difficult for her to comprehend.

They told me she needed medication and extensive therapy. That she needed a specialized diet. These opinions came from the best of the best. 

We tried the diets (for three months), avoided the medications, and did therapy once a week.

And tonight my little girl, the one with all the odds against her, told me about a friend while we drove to ballet. With detail and excitement she told me about tea parties and princesses and could she invite her friend for Hector's birthday party. (Hector is her lovey a bat that goes everywhere with us). At ballet she greeted her teacher with a smile and helped a classmate find her missing shoe. And at bed time she read me a chapter from her book and then gave me a hug and kiss and said "I love you"...

These may seem like little things, but, for us they are huge considering her "odds". 

Even if she struggles with writing. Or unfamiliar environments. Or new routines. Or loud noises...

Even if she struggles with weird textures. Or focusing. Or following directions. Or getting dressed...

She is a kid, and she is getting there. If she can do it, so can others. It's not a matter of what or when a child learns. It's a matter of how a child learns. 

So if you are an Autism Mom, or just a Mom in general, stop counting your failures. Stop comparing your child. Stop living in the future. 

For all the moms who struggle with counting their failures watch this:

Take a moment and let your child amaze you with today.


  1. I love this post!! You go mama!! :) I love your recounts from October. What a special month it is for you!!

  2. Way to go Livia! I love that you focus on the silver linings! I might not be a Mom, but as a person, I think focusing on the positive is soooo important!

  3. I happened to stumble across your website. It is so great to see how well Olivia is doing. From time to time I have wondered about her and the progress she has made and continues to make. Right before you moved you could see that the window had opened for her and she was aware of so much more and doing and saying so much more. This is very inspiring to other parents like yourself back in the beginning.

    1. Hi Jenni!

      Thank you so much for your comment. YOU made such a huge impact in Olivia's life. You have no clue how grateful I am for teachers like yourself. Ever since we have moved we have struggled in a couple schools. The past year she has also had great teachers, but is so far ahead of her class academically she is starting to get in trouble from boredom. Was interesting to be pulled to this post today. We attended our first birthday party she has been invited to. She was so happy to finally get an invitation. It was at a bouncy house and she did excellent! We made it through the entire party without one melt down! She still talks about you from time to time and asks to go back to school there lol. Hope all has been well for you =)


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