Image One .
Danielle Pearlman is 10 years old and has autism. She is the daughter of Image One CEO Joel Pearlman.
A STORY OF UNCONDITIONAL LOVE:
It started with a feeling. A feeling only a parent understands; a feeling that something was not right with their child.
When Danielle Pearlman was about 20 months old, her parents noticed a change in her behavior - their beautiful baby didn’t meet their loving gaze; her development seemed different, more delayed, than other babies. At first, they thought she might have a hearing loss issue. After having her tested and evaluated, a diagnosis came back that confirmed that feeling – a diagnosis of autism.
Imagine what it must be like to be new parents and to receive a diagnosis that forever alters your dreams and hopes for your child. The range of emotions is overwhelming – denial, anger, loss, fear and grief. Danielle’s parents experienced all those emotions, and more, when they were given the news. Joel Pearlman, Danielle’s father, described the diagnosis as experiencing a kind of ‘death.’ But many parents of autistic children will tell you, there is another side to that diagnosis. There is the relief in knowing that that feeling has a name and while autism isn’t curable, there are supportive treatments that can allow your child to grow and thrive. Then there are the gifts, ones you don’t have to look very hard for. The gifts that are found in Danielle’s smile, her infectious laughter, her loving spirit, and the way her energy pulls you in the minute you enter the room.
About two years ago, someone close to Joel asked him a question:
What is Danielle here to teach you?
Joel didn’t have to think twice about the answer.
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