So Autism…. It’s been 2 years…..
2 years, 2 Y.E.A.R.S. since we sat in the doctor’s office staring down at test results, sick to our stomachs, angry, scared, upset and having no idea what we were going to do. Seems like a lifetime ago and strangely it also feels like it just happened. I didn’t want my son diagnosed on the Autism spectrum. I wanted it to be anything else. ANYTHING! I thought it was death sentence of sorts. He would never be normal, he would never have the same chance other children had. We wouldn’t get to have a “normal” family like everyone else. I had failed him as a mother somehow. I didn’t want anyone to know. A sense of dread settled over me, along with heavy grieving for a bit. I felt guilty for feeling all of this. And in talking with other “Autism Parents” I found out these were universal feelings. Almost everyone I talked too said to me “oh yes, I felt the same things” After that initial month of feeling sorry for him, our family, and yes…. myself, I knew I had to get over it and plow forward. I have learned so much over the last 2 years. In fact, Autism as been my greatest teacher.
I have learned that this is not an end of the world diagnosis, and shockingly I have learned to be grateful! YES, grateful! Without his ASD diagnosis he wouldn’t have received the help he really needed, found the wonderful teachers and professionals that have blessed our lives, or forged the friendships and instant comradely that comes in this Autism club. I know we needed this help. I know HE needed this help. He is constantly shocking us with his progress, his intelligence, his boundless energy (that is another story.. hahaha!) and now I see that if I had buried my head in the sand about his issues 2 years ago, we really would be up a creek now. I am thankful that I didn’t just put him in school without knowing and acknowledging what his issues and his needs are. It would have been a set up for failure that I could never have taken back. He’s happy with school and his teachers! I find that to be a huge success. I’ve also come to not care so much about “normal” anymore. Who and what are *really* normal anyway? I am not sure I even know any normal families. I will acknowledge that I wish things could be easier. And that we weren’t so exhausted and stressed all the time. But it is a battle to make sure we stay on top his needs. Even the smallest things need to be planned out with an added escape plan if it comes to it. We have adapted and its second nature to us now. When someone tells me “I don’t know how you do it, you are stronger than I am” I say,” No… I wasn’t stronger, but I grew stronger and you would too.”
My youngest son is in an early intervention program and possibly on the spectrum too. And you know, I’m ok with it. In fact I told the director of the program that I hope he does get the ASD diagnosis. I went on to explain… ” I want him to get the services he needs to help him. I don’t want him to slip through the cracks which could very well happen with either of my boys. ” She was shocked, in a good way. “I wish more Moms and Dads would think this way” she said. 2 years ago I didn’t think that way at all. I know that all the Moms and Dads who are new to this diagnosis don’t think this way YET…. If you are one, please know…… there is no shame in being Autistic , or being an Autism parent. It’s not a sickness, it’s not something to hide. It’s a different processing system. It’s a differently wired brain. My boys are amazing. They are both brilliant, hilarious, full of love and personality. It sure makes for one hell of a rollercoaster ride. We might have it harder than other families out there, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.