I’m fortunate to have met some amazing and inspiring people these past few years, and I love the opportunities we have to share our stories and experiences. This is the story of Kristen Wiseman and her daughter, Macie. Their story is moving, uplifting and quite frankly, is one that we should all hear for reasons which will become obvious. Thank you Kristen & Macie for allowing us to share this with our readers. ~ Kristen.
This is Macie. Macie is 11 years old and as you can see from her picture, she is a bright, healthy and happy child. She just graduated from the 5th grade and will be attending Jr. High School as a 6th grader in the fall. She is an extremely bright kid, who was at the top of her class in all subjects, excelling in reading and writing. She is artistic and loves to draw and create stories.Her teachers have all told me that her writing style is superb, and none would be surprised if she becomes a writer someday. She has a funny sense of humor and a quick wit. She ran for Student Council, Vice-President, is a Bronze Award winner in Brownies and has played on various soccer and softball teams. She is self-taught on the piano and has perfect pitch. She has taken acting and modeling and was scouted by several talent agencies in Los Angeles. She has dozens of friends and was voted Best Smile by her peers. She loves cats, Radio Disney, Starbucks soy hot cocoa and fights with her little sister, but defends her to the end. She is, to all who meet her, just a normal kid.
Macie was diagnosed with PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Delay, Not-Otherwise specified) which is an Autistic Spectrum Disorder, just before her 3rd birthday. She had developed normally, hitting every milestone until her shots at around 13 months. She got a 5/1 combo, the MMR and shortly after, a flu shot. The doctor told me I might as well get them over with and save myself an extra trip. For a long time, I felt so much guilt about her diagnosis, but I just wasn’t educated about vaccines. She was my first, and I was just doing what my doctor told me to do.
Almost immediately, we started to “lose” her; loss of eye contact, loss of words, tantrums. She went from being a truly happy baby, to one who developed rashes on her face, body, diarrhea, and would only eat certain foods. She cried constantly. She would spend hours spinning in circles in the corner of a room, playing with her fingers and babbling. She rarely responded to her name, other kids, her pets and had no expressive or receptive language. Echolalia ensued, repeating some single words over and over. She became extremely over-sensitive to sounds, like the toilet flushing and had inappropriate behavior, such as laughing when someone was crying or hurt themselves. She rarely smiled, but just had a constant blank stare about her. She really was in her own little world. It was a daily struggle and I began to hate going to the park each day, watching the other children run around and play and listening to the other moms talk about their child’s newest accomplishment. Those were tough times, and looking back now, I realize how utterly helpless I felt.
Upon diagnosis, we were told that we should prepare ourselves emotionally and financially for the possibility of having to find someone look after her when John and I passed away. That was hard enough to hear, but later, when a doctor told us that Macie might never have friends, I lost it! It was that statement that sent me on a quest to find a way to heal her. I remember telling the doctor that he was simply “NOT allowed to ever say that to another parent” and walked out.
I called my dad, crying, venting, not knowing what to do and he told me he knew of someone that might be able to help. 3 days later, my stepmom flew out to watch our new 3 month old and John and I boarded a plane with Macie to Texas to go visit Dr. Mary Ann Block of the Block Center. She lectures around the world, has written several books and follows the DAN! (Defeat Autism Now) protocol, among other therapies.