autism, our second daughter

Shine Leila Shine

I could never really describe to you our Leila. There’s so many layers to her personality; her being. She is my infinite happiness, my heartbeat. When I dig deep into my heart in search of words that I want you to know about my girl is that she’s hilarious, she’s the most kind person I’ve ever met and she has empathy as deep as the ocean. She’s our animal lover, our stop-and-smell-the-flowers kinda gal. She is the ultimate definition of caring and kindness. The world needs one billion Leilas and then some.

Since my girl was just a wee little gal, we experienced challenges in several different aspects. There were no naps, she always, always needed her Mama and change was always a challenge. Being a military family, there was always change, so our babe always was wading through a challenge one way or the other.

We noticed almost instantly that she was not a people-person. Shortly after, we realized she was an animal lover. She exhibits her love for animals even today; she reads the same book, repetitively, about animals and their habitats. Today, she has a cat and a dog and takes pride in caring for them. Her little hands have always been drawn to different textures and feels. Sounds have always been a struggle and there have been days that she was simply inconsolable.

Since moving to the United States, our girl has had some new behaviors pertaining to her anxiety. Not long after we enrolled her in public school here in the US, she started to have 5-10 panic attacks per week due to the stress. She came home from school exhausted from her little body being taken over by anxiety. Her smile became a rarity. She had lost her shine. The behavioral changes go beyond what I could ever have the capacity to explain.

We were fortunate to have the utmost support from her school administration. They were the first serious (I had had others) team of people to encourage me to consider that my sweet girl may be on the spectrum.

Through a series of tests and waiting… and a little more waiting… we were told that our girl has Severe Anxiety, Severe Depression and Autism Spectrum Disorder. I have always had my heart open to individuals with special needs, but to have a child labeled in this category is a whole new world.

We thank the Lord above for local resources that serve the local special needs community. Our girl is thriving with equine-assisted therapy, we are beginning our journey with Assisted Behavioral Analysis (ABA Therapy) and have some other therapies on deck.

Leila’s future is bright. We are fully believing our girl will shine once again. We have a score of therapies ahead and a heap of progress to claim. Not only do we believe the therapies will serve her well, we believe in prayer. If at any moment of your day, you remember our sweet girl, we humbly ask that you send a prayer up above on her behalf.


We are thankful for our girl. God knows every inch of my heart and soul and I am blessed he has chosen me to mother her through this journey. I am privileged to call her daughter.





9 thoughts on “Shine Leila Shine”

  1. Beautiful! Much of what you have shared sounded like you were talking about my daughter. My daughter has ADHD and anxiety/depression issues. She is doing better now thanks to some past therapy. I will have to check into this equine therapy. Thank you for sharing. I have said a special prayer for you all. God bless!

  2. I am really proud of you for sharing so openly. Your vulnerability will 1) help you process all that is involved, 2) adds a healthy perspective to what it means to parent a child with an autism diagnosis 3) encourage others. I want to affirm an observation you made about yourself: “I have always had my heart open to individuals with special needs” YES, YOU HAVE. I remember you inviting children to your birthday party that no one else would invite. I have watched you interact with people that others shy away from.

  3. Love her and you guys! Thank you so much for sharing. I am thrilled that she has found Equine Assisted Therapy and other things in this world that bring her life and joy. You are just the right mama and family to nurture all of her gifts and help her shine.

  4. That was lovely, you all, are a remarkable family. I could perceive the love in this story and all the love you have for her. Yet, God’s love for her is so much more! We will keep her in prayer! God’s got this!

  5. A mothers love is deep and will be your strength. Leila will always shine!

    Sent from my iPhone


Leave a comment. I dare you.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s