By Megan Amodeo
My name is Megan. I am a 41 year old stay at home mom. Much of my daily routines seem pretty normal unless you take a closer look. I have three beautiful daughters. My oldest, Maddy, is almost 13 years old. She loves Sailor Moon and Barbie dolls. She falls on the high end of the autism spectrum. She is bright and artistic. Social situations make her extremely nervous and uncomfortable. My middle daughter, Katy, is nearly 11 years old. She is full of energy! She was diagnosed with ADHD several years ago. She is very social! My youngest daughter, Ally, is 8 years old. She is funny and strong. She falls further down the autism spectrum. Daily routines are very important to her. I am blessed three times over with my girls.
The thing that makes our family different is I actually understand my daughters with autism without even having to think about their actions. I am a mom, wife, friend, and contributing member of society with autism.
Although I am considered to be high functioning, every little routine, sensory experience, and meltdown my daughters experience seem normal to me. I was not diagnosed until the age of 36 years old. When I was younger, people called me weird, eccentric, and geeky. I have always marched to a different beat. After my daughters were diagnosed with autism, I started examining the behaviors their doctors labeled as non-typical. As I went through the list, it struck me that I had many of the same behaviors.
As I said, I am high functioning. Without having a diagnosis as a child, I learned to write scripts in my head to help me get through various social settings. Over time, I learned to “act” a certain way according to the situation. When I was diagnosed as an adult with Aspergers Syndrome, I felt relief. I finally felt “normal” in my own skin. My experiences have provided me with a unique view of my daughters.
When my youngest is having a meltdown because she can’t find all of her stuffed animal birds to line up in a row, I understand why she is upset. When my oldest daughter is petrified to go to her junior high back-to-school night, I feel her anxiety. I look at my autism as a wonderful gift that has allowed me to better understand my children. We are all unique! My autism also helps me appreciate my middle daughter’s outgoing personality. Life definitely has its challenges, but I embrace the different!
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