Focus on Where You’re Heading

Success Stories

March 16, 2011 Prism Newsletter
By Jennifer Alexsonshk

Alyssa and Anne Alexsonshk

The feeling of success for my family varies from day to day. My heart soars on days like last Friday, when my daughter is singing in front of a full gymnasium with a smile on her face. This is very different than the Christmas concert earlier this year, where she stood arms crossed with a frown on her face. Our family life has been a journey with many ups and downs; however, it is important to focus on where you are heading and not where you have been. I see my family on a path to a bright future of success!

My husband (Rick) and I are very proud of our two daughters. Alyssa and Anne were both diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome in 2006. Having been a special educator before becoming a stay home mother, I noticed some issues with my daughters. However, I thought I was just being super-sensitive due to my profession. Once they entered preschool, though, many of my concerns became apparent. Knowing the importance of early intervention, our family began the diagnosis process immediately. I attribute early intervention to many of the successes of my daughters today. Additionally, we were fortunate to be in a school district that had a preschool autism program to give them a good foundation.

We have our daily struggles, but we have come so far since that diagnosis. The many hours of occupational, speech, physical and vision therapies have provided my children with a strong foundation. They have such beautiful minds, when you take the time to listen. I envision Alyssa one day being a great inventor, artist or archeologist. I dream of Anne working with animals, biologist, or being an entomologist. However, I want to measure our family success by raising happy and healthy girls, helping them embrace who they are – enjoying our family’s journey through life no matter how bumpy the ride.

This column chronicles the successes of people on the autism spectrum, families and friends, and professionals in the developmental disabilities field in dealing with the everyday challenges that occur in their lives. We welcome any who are interested to contribute to this section. You can do so by sending an email to [email protected].

Jennifer Alexsonshk is the mother of two girls on the spectrum.

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One thought on “Focus on Where You’re Heading

  1. Hi. My name is Nicole Henson. I am currently working on my Masters Degree to get my BCBA to become a behavioral Analyst. I love working with children who have been diagnosed with Autism. They are such sweet kids and I love helping them. I am employed at an elementary school helping children with Autism in the general education setting. I also have a brother who was diagnosed with Autism about 11 years ago. He is such an awesome kid!

    For my masters program I am taking a class about how disabilities affect families. I am desirous to learn about other families perspectives on having a child that has been diagnosed with Autism. What were some of the challenges you faced? What were some of the successes you had? Were there certain things you were worried about? What is your perspective on your child’s education program? Have you had problems with the educational system? What are some of the joys your child or children have brought you?

    I really appreciate any comments and the time you take to make them!

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