Erin Michele came into this world 10 pounds, 23 inches of screaming baby. I compared it to giving birth to a toddler. My other babies were not small, but never was I prepared for this. Erin was gorgeous. She looked like one of those toy babies. Big blue eyes and huge. Erin cried most of her baby life. Let me change that, she screamed. My husband said that he had never seen such and unhappy baby. Because we already had one diagnosed Autistic child, we thought maybe we should have Erin checked out. Erin started OT, PT and Speech before her 1st birthday. The therapists loved her. She was a challenge and they were ready. They just did not realize how hard this challenge was going to be. Erin smeared feces, toothpaste, soap, syrup....anything that can smear, she smeared. They would put Erin in a big bucket full of pinto beans, she would melt with the pressure. They would roll her up like a burrito in a thin mattress...again, she would melt. They brushed her body and she would get this look of contentment all over her face. Erin had this therapy until she was 3. She started and Early Childhood program at school. We continued with private therapy outside of school. Erin struggled to keep her composure at school. She wanted to talk, but just couldn't. Instead...she screamed.
Suddenly, right before Erin's 4th birthday, words came. She started talking and talking. Not well, mind you, but talking she did. Suddenly, like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon, Erin flew. She started having friends. She started playing with toys. She started to be happy.
She attended regular Kindergarten the next year. She had a hard time with reading. They were going to put her in a reading class the summer between K and 1st grade. Erin did not want this. Can you believe this little girl taught herself to read.....
She wanted to ride a bike without training wheels....she taught herself, on the grass, in the backyard to ride.
Erin has been fully-inclusioned in regular ed classes since Kindergarten. She has maintained an A average with honor roll every year. I cannot take any credit for this. I give 80 % of the credit to Erin and 20 % to her amazing teachers. Not bad for a kid who tested 74 on an IQ test 4 years ago. Erin started Girl Scouts this month and became the Teacher's Treasure for all of 4th grade last week. Not an easy honor, I am told.
Erin is a large girl. She stands 5 feet 4 inches. She is 150 pounds. She has dirty blond hair and the brightest, bluest eyes I have ever seen. Gone is the "saddest child in the world". Replaced with the "happiest, most loveable, smartest" people I know. I am so thankful that I am blessed with her every day.
One warning though, if you ever get the honor to meet my Erin, brace yourself for the tightest hug you have ever had......I give that credit to her hard-working OT's and PT's for all the deep pressure they gave her early in life. Thanks guys, whereever you are....