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Megan Drane
Firefly Nights Photography
www.fireflynightsphotography.com

Moira

Moira. Our beautiful, intelligent daughter - where do I start? There's so much I could say.

We first got the diagnosis at 33 months old. The diagnosis of Classic Autism. I knew in my heart, far before that point, that our daughter was different at 18 months old as she experienced an undeniable regression. I knew in my heart, around the age of 2, that Moira was autistic. Motherly instincts, perhaps.

Every day I watch as she struggles to remain regulated and in control in regards to her sensory issues. She is a huge sensory seeker, very hyperactive, always on the go looking for that input - anyway that she can get it. She spends the better part of each afternoon constantly stimming. Requiring constant supervision and physical redirection. Her struggles often result in meltdowns that will leave me utterly exhausted. My heart hurts every time I see my daughter get frustrated, anxious, angry, overwhelmed, overtired, overstimulated and NOT being able to communicate what she is going through inside her mind. There are so many way that Autism affects her daily life. Not only do I homeschool her, I also do therapy every day at home. Moira has made great progress since her diagnosis but we have a long road ahead of us.

Moira has an amazing memory. Skilled with numbers, letters, patterns and symbols. She is a very quick learner and picks up on things fast. She has always had wonderful non-verbal skills. She is also a great problem solver. :) She has a beautiful smile and contagious laughter. She has a love for animals, puzzles, balls of all sizes, coloring, and painting. She is thriving in homeschool and continues to make us proud each day.

Raising a child with special needs can be exhausting, all consuming, at times heartbreaking and very challenging but it is incredibly rewarding, full of surprises, inspiring, and brings incredible joy into my life that is irreplaceable. She continues to be my inspiration each day. You truly learn to appreciate every step they take and not take anything for granted.

I've had the same fears many parents have. Will my child learn to speak? Learn to communicate with the world around her? Be independent? Learn coping skills to deal with her overwhelming sensory issues? However, these fears drive me. They keep me motivated to continue helping our daughter, in every way possible, to reach her fullest potential.

Jessica, mother of Moira
Chicago, IL