By Marlene

I have a daughter, age 17, with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), and she is a joy to our lives every day. She has overcome many milestones and is still working really hard to be like her peers. She goes to mainstream classes in a regular high school. We always wanted her to learn to adapt to real-world experiences, so this is how we raised her. She still has a speech impediment and has an IEP.

We never tell her she can’t do anything. She knows she’s different – kids at school let her know every day. She has been cyber-bullied and has suffered from depression. She has cried many times and asked, “Why did God do this to me?” She has friends who accept her for who she is, and they look out for her. So, God is watching over her.

We have moved her around to different schools, even putting her in a private school at one time. But private school isolated her. By running to a different school, she didn’t learn to deal with the situation because kids can be mean anywhere.

Today, she is doing well. She’s enjoying school and looks forward to the future. She met a boy her age with autism while on vacation, and that’s the happiest I’ve ever seen her. They live in different states, but still talk to each other every day. So, I wonder if the way we raised her and mainstreamed her was the right way after all. Now, I’m trying to find teenage autism groups for her so that she can meet some kids like herself. Sad to say, I can’t find any within driving distance. Anyway, I’ll keep trying. I’m sure God will lead the way.