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Rhiannon Mack
Reflections By Rhiannon


Abby is a beautiful, happy, and health eleven year old girl. She is very active and is the happiest spending time with her family and playing outdoors.

Abby was diagnosed in 2003 at the age of three. Her pediatrician referred her to the Speech and Hearing Center because we thought Abby was unable to hear us. She was always in her “little world.” Well, after a 10/15 minute evaluation, the specialist states that she could have autism. What was autism? Up until that point, I had never heard of the word autism. We were of course devastated and it seemed the world stopped! After a short period of sadness, we quickly picked ourselves back up and started early interventionist programs and therapies with Abby. At first it was easy to be bitter and to blame someone else for this horrible label and knew our lives will never be the same. However, we decided not to live our lives in such grief and sorrow. We would make the best out of this situation. We would not focus on Abby’s journey and what she can do, rather than what she cannot do.

Today, Abby has many strengths and continues to move forward. She enjoys her music, handing out with friends and family, playing with her Ipad and is an avid swimmer! She is also learning sign language. Though, she continues to struggle with fine motor skills and still remains completely nonverbal. We will always have hope and faith that one day she will be able to communicate with us and to hear the words a mother readily wants to hear, “I love you.”

Our family is blessed to have Abby in our lives, and we are better people because of her. She continues to make us laugh each and every day. Abby may not have the life we envisioned but we will remain confident that she has a meaningful life and hopefully a productive life one day.

Stephanie, Abby’s mother
Richburg, SC