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Do you work outside the home? I am a Senior Human Resources Manager. I am also a consultant for Ava Anderson Non Toxic in my free time.

What do you do to relax? I listen to audio books on my work commute and go to book club once a month with a fantastic group of women.

What benefits has Connecting for Kids brought to you and your family? I am so glad that my daughter's occupational therapist told me about CFK. This is an amazing organization in which I refer anyone I meet who may benefit from the programs. The Facebook Chat Group is a huge help as none of us are on this journey alone, plenty of parents have sound advice to offer. Sarah Rintamaki has even reached out to me directly to connect me with resources. My family really enjoys the Music Therapy & MoreSM and Teach Me to PlaySM classes.

What do you worry about most? How my child is going to be treated as she grows up. Kids can be so cruel, especially with social media now. I just want her to be treated with as much respect as any "typical" kid. I also want to make sure she has the best quality of life that she can.

The hardest thing for me to learn was... Not to compare my child to other "typical" kids. It's very hard to see younger kids developing faster. But I have to remind myself that our daughter is a special little girl and we love her just the way she is... she has so many amazing qualities!

If I could go back in time and talk to myself the day we got the diagnosis I would say... Don't worry, everything is going to be OK. You will be guided through the process of getting your child all the help she needs. But you are your child's best advocate. You will meet and surround yourself with a talented staff of doctors, specialists, teachers and a community that goes out of their way to help your child develop. However, nobody will coordinate all the care and take them to the countless appointments. That is now your job and this very special person will be counting on you to give them the quality of life they deserve.

Is there anything else about your journey that you would like to share with other parents? This has been a tremendous learning experience for my husband and me. It's been a tough journey. But because we began early intervention when our daughter was 1 year old, she has received the help she needs from the start. I'm so glad I didn't listen to people who said, "Oh, she's just taking her time, she'll catch up." She wouldn't be where she is today if we hadn't pursued early intervention. I'm confident that our daughter is going to lead a very enriched and successful life because of how hard we worked from the very beginning. You are not in this alone, a huge community is out there ready to support and challenge you and your child... don't be afraid to reach out for help!

Leslie is the parent of two children.

Faces of Connecting for Kids (CFK) is a monthly feature that appears in our subscribers-only eNewsletter. The parents profiled in Faces of CFK have provided their information to help others walking a similar path to know that they are not alone. If you are interested in providing your own profile for a Faces of CFK feature, please complete this form.

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