Jazy is not by any means on the high needs side of the spectrum, but that in itself can cause a different set of challenges because 85% of the time she presents as a typical 3 1/2 year old. It's difficult for people to understand why she wont look at them, reply to their questions, say thank you when they give her a compliment or why she doesn't engage in any real form of conversation. But we definitely have hope that with guidance and examples of how to respond in social circumstances she will one day be able to reply without the prompting and feel more comfortable to be able to maybe even start a little conversation herself to help her interact and play with kids around her age.
Jazy has some sensory processing concerns so along our journey to date we have had to learn how to manage certain loud noises, different materials against her skin, the temperature of food, having an extreme sense of smell, having a rigid routine and having to prepare her for transitions to move onto different activities which are all now a part of our everyday life. She is our little back seat navigator and makes sure to let us know if we go a different way home from school or to the shops, so I don't think we'll ever get lost around our local home area.
We have had a few challenges along the way but by far the hardest to date was a 7 month period when Jazy was having difficulties with speech and interactions with kids her own age and was becoming overwhelmed at free time play at school when it became too loud and kids encroached her space. Her reaction to escape the situation was to kick and hit or pinch which escalated to biting episodes. As a mum this was heart wrenching not knowing at the time what was causing the incidents and her extreme reactions and knowing your child was hurting another made me feel shame and guilt beyond belief. I would sit at work the 3 days a week she went to school dreading every time the phone rang it would be the school saying we'd had a biting incident! It got to a point where we didn't know what to do about it and being our only child we just got told she'll grow out of it! But thankfully the school intervened and recommended speech therapy and occupational therapy sessions and now with some excellent guidance and tools we were able to help the school identify and deflect Jazy's stress and potential for meltdowns until she was able to gain some better communication skills and self awareness and... touch wood, we haven't had any incidents for the past 4 months now
One of Jazy's special loves (or what some might call an addiction) is mermaids. This has meant we have a real water baby so although she may not be able to ride a bike or a scooter very well like the other kids her age for a long time her love of the water has meant that learning to swim is a definite highlight in her week!
We are very blessed and thankful to have Jazlynn in our lives, she makes us smile and laugh every day and has funny little antics that although at times are challenging her special outlook on life is what makes her unique and such a bright light, and in the words of Katy Perry from Jazlynn's favourite song "Firework" she's even brighter than the moon, moon moon xo
Written by Tamara Donohue xx