"Straight From the Heart" Interview Series: Rachael Conrad
Rachael Conrad is an incredible, loving, & devoted mother. She has two children, & her youngest son, Seeley, is diagnosed with autism.
Autism is a disorder that is usually diagnosed when a person struggles with forming or maintaining relationships, communicating well with others, or they experience having to repeat certain behaviors many times. A person with autism is not the same as the next person, since there are some individuals who range from high to low functioning.
Racheal has been looking for many different resources for Seeley, and she came across Circle Creek Therapy about two years ago. Seeley has been coming to Circle Creek Therapy for speech, occupational, and physical therapy.
Since Rachael is so open about her experience with autism, we thought that she would be a great person to interview. We hope that you will find her wisdom to be helpful and/or relatable! Enjoy!
What are some things that you love about your child? Or some things that make Seeley awesome?
"A little bit of everything. I love how he has no sense of humor, but he tries to be funny. He will try to tell me knock knock jokes because he sees that other people will laugh at them, so then I have to pretend to laugh. But I love how he is trying to participate."
"I love how he will try to do anything. He will always try something new, no matter what it is."
Can you sum up your child in 3 words?
"My favorite boy."
Can you give me an example about a challenge that you have faced while raising a child with autism?
"The hardest thing was convincing professionals to get my son help. At the beginning, Doctors didn’t think anything was wrong. I had to fight the professionals or my insurance to get the help that Seeley needed. We went to many different places but they all had a waitlist that was close to a year long. But then once we found Circle Creek Therapy, we found out that there was no waitlist and we have been here ever since."
What does your typical day look like, while raising a child with autism?
"It’s a new day everyday. Some things will work that day, but other days it won’t work the same way that it did before. On some days, I have to cancel all of the plans we made. But other times, I make him do it because sometimes you just have to. Or, he will be excited to have full day of activities and he will participate in all of them. You should have no expectations and just roll with it."
What are some good resources that you have found, that have really helped Seeley?
"The Autism moms of Seattle on Facebook is like my Bible! This a page where others moms, who have children with autism, and who live in the King County area, can get help from other moms who are going through the same things that you are. They can post different celebrations or events (about autism) around the city, or they can post about how they found weighted blankets for sale; anything goes!"
"ABA Mind Source in Covington has also been incredible for Seeley."
"I shout it out (talking about Circle Creek Therapy). I do it because I wish someone would have done it for me. It's just not about the child they're seeing; it's about the family. Robyn, (Rachael's daughter) can sometimes make the craft with Seeley, or read with him during his session. We come here all of the time for his appointments, and I'm so glad that not only do my children feel welcome, but I do too."
If you were to give a parent some advice, who just found out that their child has autism, what would you say to them?
"Welcome to the horrible and yet crazy wonderful ride!"
"I would say to have no expectations, and to celebrate the little victories. He has a thing with numbers like addresses. He will ask me what the address is of the Target that we are going to, and I have to look it up for him. But once I show him, he will always remember it. He has a photographic memory. People like you or me would kill to have something like that! But without autism, he wouldn’t have that. I’m so thankful that he does because that makes Seeley who he is."
"One child with autism is different from others. I look at other kids, and I am so thankful that Seeley is where he is at."
"Don't be afraid of the diagnosis. Getting a diagnosis was the best thing to happen to us. We finally had answer, and then we could get him the help that he needed."
"Be an advocate. I've spend four hours on the phone with my insurance because they wouldn't get Seeley the help he needed. Just do whatever you can for your kid because it is totally worth it."
If you’re concerned that your child might be showing signs of autism, or if you are in need of a new clinic, please call and set up a free consultation at 253.237.3405. We would love to meet you!