"I am still waiting to hear my almost-3-year-old say 'Mommy" and 'I love you,'" writes Kristina Jermain. "I hope no parent takes these simple words and phrases for granted." The mom shared an honest and heartbreaking look at what raising a nonverbal child on the autism spectrum looks like on Frank Somerville's Facebook page in honor of World Autism Day.
Caroline is almost 3 years old and has yet to say her first words, but she knows what she wants to say, which is a constant source of frustration for both her and Kristina. "She knows what she wants to communicate, but she just can't," Kristina wrote. "It results in many meltdowns."
Kristina continues her post, touching on what daily life is like with a child who can't communicate even her most basic needs.
She can't tell me when she feels sick, or why she's sad, or what's frustrating her. I am also still waiting for her to have a friend. While almost every mom friend I have is accepting of Caroline and includes her in her own child's birthdays or play dates, Caroline herself has not made any real connections with children her age.
I also really appreciate people treating her as normally as possible, but it is hard to explain that sometimes exceptions have to be made for her behavior. She doesn't ever act out to be malicious — it is, rather, out of frustration with her inability to communicate. When people don't understand this they sometimes ask, "What is wrong with your child?" It's heartbreaking.
Kristina also shared some of the sacrifices her family has had to make, such as hours of therapy per week that isn't covered by their insurance and the fact that they are house-bound during those hours, which she says is "very lonely and isolating."
However, this mom wants to stress that she doesn't see Caroline's limitations as negative. "Although our family faces many challenges, there is no other child I would want as my own," she wrote. "Caroline put me into my favorite, most important role in life: motherhood. I have never been so happy, so in love, and so rewarded."
The mom's heartfelt post ends in a message to all other parents with children on the autistic spectrum: "I want all parents of autistic children out there, who may be hopeless, to know that there is hope. I am confident she will speak someday soon. I am confident she will have a friend. I am confident she will continue to be successful. And I am confident that I will always be proud of her."