Autism Parenting Magazine Issue 74 (Member's Dashboard) - Page 53

 AUTISM ADVOCACY An Exclusive Look at AUTISM with Gina Badalaty By Derrick HAYES Encouragement speaker Derrick Hayes gives an AUTISM interview by asking six questions through each letter in the word “autism” to give readers in- sightful perspectives from parents, experts, entre- preneurs, and other leaders in the field. T oday’s AUTISM Interview is with Gina Bada- laty, a freelance blogger who has been writing about raising special needs chil- dren and living a non-toxic life since 2002 at Embracing Imperfect. She brings her audience unique solutions regarding chil- dren’s health and well-being and focus- es on providing parents with tools that give them hope where they have previously found none. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two beau- tiful daughters, and an amazing cat and is current- ly writing a book on raising children with autism. A i  s for Awareness - When and how did you first become aware that something was dif- ferent? From birth, my daughter was always a very fussy child who screamed inconsolably. We later learned that she had sensory issues (diagnosed with sensory processing disorder [SPD] at age two), and was most likely crying from her skin sensitivities and inability to communicate her discomfort. By her toddler years, she was inflicting self-injury, laughing in her sleep, and was still unable to sleep through the night. She was officially diagnosed with autism/pervasive de- velopmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD- NOS) at age three. U i  s for Unique - How has this experience been unique for you and your child? The first time I ever solved a problem following the advice of fellow parents and NOT our pediatrician, I realized that certain problems and behaviors could be relieved by thinking outside the box! At the time, there wasn’t a ton of peer-reviewed science on how a dairy sensitivity could impact her sleep patterns, but other parents knew. T i  s for Tools - What tools are there now that were not there in the beginning that could help other parents? There are so many tools out there now! From speech, social story apps, and dietary protocols to a larger se- lection of sensory clothing, and CBD oil, people are beginning to understand that some elements of au- tism are environmental while others are behavioral. This allows our kids a much better hope for living productive, purposeful lives. Autism Parenting Magazine | Issue 74 | 53