Phone: 718.554.1027 Email: info@brooklynautismcenter.org    

Making a Difference: Greta's Story

Making a Difference: Greta's Story

When Greta was born we were overjoyed with pride. We loved watching her develop into a silly, wide-eyed, clumsy toddler. Her cognitive skills were impressive! She soon learned countless words, colors, numbers and the alphabet ahead of schedule. She loved reading books and could recite the lines. Greta would routinely toddle into my bedroom carrying the remote saying, show?...show?... SHOW! When her dad would come home, she would run to the door yelling, Daddy's home! Daddy's home? Horsey ride!
 
Nothing about Greta's development from ages birth to 2 years gave us fair warning that autism would soon emerge and change our lives forever. No ones life was changed more than Greta's. She experienced a marked 'plateau' in her development followed by a gradual regression of developmental and cognitive skills. It was like watching my child disappear slowly right before my very eyes. I felt helpless and confused. I couldn't sleep, never stopped worrying, investigating and trying to solve this mystery. I vividly recall desperately trying to get Greta to respond to her name one day while we were in the park. No matter how frantically I repeated her name, she was simply unable to respond.  I think that was the moment I knew she was gone.  The fear and confusion that set in was overwhelming.
 
Imagine for a moment what it must feel like to have a beautiful, healthy child and then have that child disappear. Imagine the child is physically in front of you but the life and connection you once saw in her eyes is no longer there. Imagine there is no medical explanation. Imagine what it is like to be that child. To gradually become unable to make sense of what your parents are saying. To no longer be able to articulate yourself. 
 
Today, at 13, Greta continues to struggle with communication and extreme sensory issues. Thankfully, with the help of a supportive community like BAC, our family has learned how to cope with daily struggles. With the help of BAC staff, Greta has consistently regained a level of engagement with others, is learning to increase communication, independence and has exposure to new recreational activities that bring her joy. 
 
Reflecting on Greta's story still makes me feel a deep sense of loss. But what I want people to take from our story is that Greta is one of the most free-spirited and happy individuals you will ever encounter. She experiences love and expresses love everyday. Thankfully, she has learned to participate in life on her terms. She struggles with simple tasks on a daily bases and we all experience moments of extreme frustration. However, I am always full of hope for her future. The support system and constant individual attention BAC provides gives me that security.
 
Thanks for your support,
 
Karen 
(aka Greta's mom)