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The Beautiful Ways My Hopes Changed for My Daughter With Nonverbal Autism

When Zoey was diagnosed with autism in August 2014, we were told she was nonverbal and not to give up hope.

I hang onto hope. I cling to hope. I wear hope. I sleep and dream hope. I breathe it in every day and never release it. It’s a part of me.

My child is a part of me, too. She is a piece of my heart. She makes me want to be healthy and fight for anything and everything she needs. She’s made me into someone I never thought, or even dreamt, I could be.

I knew nothing about autism! I didn’t know the different severities. I didn’t know that my child may never talk. I didn’t know that she wouldn’t be able to communicate at all. I didn’t know!

But I did know to never lose hope, to not take the small things for granted and to love this child unconditionally with all of my heart. That I know!

Of course, I wanted to hear her say “Mama,” and hug me. Yes, I was sad. But I put the sadness away and focused on what she could do, and she’s made lots of progress this past year with early intervention. She has opened up to me, and we now have a bond we didn’t have before. I get hugs, she sits with me and lets me rub her face. She shows me love without words.

The funny thing about hope is sometimes you don’t really know what you’re hoping for. I had hope that she would speak so she could say “Mama,” “I love you,” or at least tell me what she wanted or needed. But my hopes changed. I hoped for her to be happy, feel less frustrated and feel and know love, and those hopes have come true!

Hope just floats around like a bubble — airy and beautiful! And then, without you asking, praying or dreaming for it, it just happens! I just make sure to capture that bubble before it pops, and wait for the next one.

Here’s a video of my daughter saying, “Mama,” for the first time on Mother’s Day.

Follow this journey on Melissa’s Facebook page.