I was blogging before blogging was a thing. Seriously, I am not even exaggerating. I started my first blog, a video blog, in 2007. Every blog has a story, a reason it was born, and my video blog was created from the first glimpse of HOPE I had as an autism mom. As soon as my daughter, Lizzie, began engaging with me again, I wanted other parents to know that the connection that was missing with their children was possible to get back. There was HOPE for progress with our kids. Now, a decade later, I can also tell you there is HOPE for your child to be fully functioning in the world.
Lizzie was diagnosed just after her second birthday with moderate autism. She had no language, no ability to interact with us, and no awareness of danger. She lined things up, banged her head on the ground, wandered aimlessly around the house, and vocally stimmed all day long. During her evaluation, the developmental pediatrician told us, “She doesn’t seem to notice the difference between you, her mother, and a chair.”
Now, at seventeen years old, Lizzie is fully engaged in our world. She is driving, on the volleyball team, has a job, and is the captain of her cheer squad. She is living what is considered to be a “normal life” despite the additional challenges of autism. She has worked very hard to get where she is today, and life is still difficult for her. But, she is smart, strong, capable, and knows her worth. Autism has made her different, not less.
We share our lives to bring you HOPE, to let you know what is possible, and to encourage you in within your own struggle. We know what it is like to feel the desperation of wanting to live the “normal life,” and we hope to help you find strength and joy in the midst of the spectrum.
In the early years of Lizzie’s life, I only shared snapshots of her progress. My biggest regret is that I didn’t get the every day struggles on video. Most of our days were filled with therapy, addressing new challenges, tantrums, and more therapy. While it was happening, I don’t think my momma heart could handle sharing the real, raw, scary stuff. I needed time to process all that we were going through with Lizzie.
Now, over a decade later, with Lizzie’s permission, I share it all…the good, the bad, and the ridiculously funny.
For the last few years, I have been blessed to have my writing featured on fabulous sites such as Scary Mommy, The Mighty, That’s Inappropriate, Finding Cooper’s Voice, and in fabulous magazines such as Autism Parenting Magazine, Parenting Special Needs Magazine, and multiple Chicken Soup for the Soul books. My first book, United in Autism: Finding Strength Inside the Spectrum, was released in 2018 with rave reviews from both the autism and literary communities.
For stories that will bring you big picture perspective in the midst of your everyday struggles, subscribe to the United in Autism blog HERE.
Here is the link to Lizzie’s Video Blog https://lizziehornok.blogspot.com from her early years.
Check out the picture from the 12/04/10 post. She’s adorable, but later that day, I noticed she literally had bugs crawling around her head. That’s right! I posted a picture of her with a full head of lice!
Julie Hornok is an award-winning author, inspirational speaker, and advocate for autism. She started the non-profit, United in Autism, to bring hope to autism moms through emotional support events. Her first book, United in Autism: Finding Strength Inside the Spectrum (foreword by Temple Grandin) is available at UnitedinAutism.com or Amazon. Join her United in Autism Facebook Community for daily support. UnitedinAutism.com