Ashley Steele 25 from Torrance, California – is mother to 2 children, Taylor 4 months and Sadie 5 who has Autistic Spectrum Disorder.
Ashley contacted Autism Daily Newscast as she wanted to share her story of how she has entered her little girl into ‘the Cute Kid‘ competition in order to raise autism awareness and acceptance.
We firstly asked Ashley to tell us a little about how Sadie was diagnosed and when she and her husband realised that Sadie may be on the autistic spectrum.
Ashley told us that when younger Sadie exhibited alarming behaviour and that having young cousins with autism made her more aware of what autism was and that the thought of Sadie being on the autistic spectrum was always there in the back of her mind.
She candidly told us:
“we started seeing the red flags, loss of motor function and words, no eye contact and family members became curious too and urged us to get her looked at by a specialist.”
By this time Sadie was 15 months and her limited vocabulary seemed to diminish.
“Words started regressing from car, momma, dada and truck to cooing and different tonal sounds.”
They finally took Sadie to Harbor Regional Center in their hometown of Torrance.
“They had an open group assessment, we filled out some paper work and the free therapist on hand did some minor assessments with toys and blocks.”
“ I wanted to hear the same response from the therapist as the woman sitting next to me but mine was different .they asked me to stay late after the assessment to schedule a private assessment. “Afterwards some parents were told that there was no need for a follow up and Ashley prayed for the same response.
By this time Sadie was 18 months and the professionals involved decided that she showed signs of being on the autistic spectrum and diagnosed her with Autistic Spectrum Disorder. She was then referred to Paediatric Therapy Network where she received occupational therapy, speech therapy and physical therapy.
Ashley told us:
“It was a crucial stepping stone in her journey to success.”
Ashley then told us of the joy when Sadie, age 4 finally got her voice
“It came a few months after her 4th birthday. It was so amazing to hear her speak again, her little voice so soft and precious, her father and I were speechless ourselves.”
Ashley shared with us the many difficulties that her daughter has:
“She frequently has huge fits of screaming, bellowing, kicking, punching, pulling hair, butting, and spitting. Sadly this is not just aimed at me and her dad but peers and teachers at school.”
Ashley voiced how her daughter is always struggling with aggression and that sadly she does not know why this is. She told us of how Sadie is such a loving and caring little girl who adores her new baby brother more than life itself.
We then got onto the subject of the Cute Kid competition. What was very apparent when interviewing Ashley was that she is immensely proud of who her daughter is and the fact that she just happens to be autistic. This was shown in her comments to other parents:
“Since your child has been diagnosed nothing has changed, they’re still the same beautiful child you love and adore. Now you get to bond on another special level that others can’t, sometimes without words. My daughter Sadie has shown me an amazing new world of hers, she teaches me new things every day and I’m learning more about her and myself. More than I thought I ever could.”
Part two of the interview posted tomorrow.