When Marissa was around 3 years old my husband and I started realizing there was something different with Marissa. She was often in her own world and didn’t seem to want to interact with other kids really at all. She picked up words very quickly and started talking early, but she repeated the same things a lot. It was like having something on repeat for 2 hours… the same thing over and over. Another thing we had discovered is that she had (and still has) an aversion to loud sounds, but apparently if the sounds were to come from her, they would not bother her because at this age she would scream high pitched screams ALL the time. I don’t just mean little squeals here and there… I mean full-out high pitched, burst your ear drums happy screams for several minutes at a time.
Fast forward to when she was 4 years old and she started preschool. The teacher asked if they could have her tested for some learning disabilities. Tim and I aren’t ones to wait around and when we didn’t have anything from them after a month, we went to get our own testing. We went to BRAINS in Grand Rapids (amazing place) where she was diagnosed with Aspergers (high functioning autism). High functioning, which means she looks and can physically do things just like a normal child, but isn’t able to process things the same way. More on that in the weeks to come.
We walked away from that meeting with the diagnosis feeling relieved. I think many other families have a different response to this meeting, some angry, some sad, some in disbelief. But to us, it was relief because we already knew she was different, now we wanted to figure out how to be the best parents for this special little girl!
We would not change a thing! Marissa has brought so much joy to our lives despite the tough times. We are so thankful for the family that God has blessed us with.