Madison was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 18months old, we were told she may never talk; the light in her eyes had gone out. With early intervention and the most incredible team...….let's look forward 16 years into the future as I watch her walk up to receive her high school diploma. Madi made it!!! But what’s next, this is a new realm for all of us. She had applied and been accepted to college this was a scary new change not just for Madi but for us too. Madi, Raffe, and I had several meetings and tours of the campus before any academics began and the staff was so gracious and caring.
Central Maine Community College not only offered a summer program to ease Madi into the upcoming fall semester but also had a tutoring program where she could go if she was having difficulties with her academics. Madi was so stressed her first week of school and every day I would drop her off I would say 2 days 2 weeks 2 months....that's our go to when we begin a new routine, learn a new behavior, it will either take 2 days 2 weeks or 2 months. I told her this one was a two week one, lol. AND IT was!! After 2 weeks of dropping off my warrior she adapted to her class schedule, knew where to go and who to ask for help from. Some of her classmates were from her high school and helped guide her as well.
Madi has finished up her first year of college with grace, a better sense of self, and independence. She continually needs positive reinforcement and guidance through the process as well as transportation because she is deathly afraid to drive. We were very fortunate for the staff that were so caring and considerate and gaged to her needs. We also met some staff that did not care for her because of her disability and had to advocate for her strongly, unfortunately I don't think that will ever stop it was just sad to see it at the college level. It's sad to see at any level.
Madi has continued to be an active member in the teen monthly meeting provided by the Autism Society of Maine which has been a constant factor of joy and excitement to her, she genuinely enjoys being part of that group. She also attends art therapy with a small group! Every summer we attend the family retreat weekend and she looks forward to that like most kids would to Disney, lol! A substantial part of Madi’s life is these pieces...every day she continues to put together her puzzle and it's beautiful because she truly is a masterpiece.
by Julie Snyder - September 2019
A quote from Helen Hoang, The Kiss Quotient
“This crusade to fix herself was ending right now. She wasn't broken. She saw and interacted with the world in a different way, but that was her. She could change her actions, change her words, change her appearance, but she couldn't change the root of herself. At her core, she would always be autistic. People called it a disorder, but it didn't feel like one. To her, it was simply the way she was.”
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