Almost 1 year ago I was right where you are in this moment. I was standing in your shoes, I was feeling the indescribable feelings that you’re feeling, and I was broken hearted and lost. You just found out. You officially were told that your child is on the Autism spectrum. You don’t know how this happened, why this happened, what it means or where to go from here. Every step ahead of you seems like a battle that you won’t win. I’ve been there.
This past spring, my husband and I were sitting in a tiny room at a school after an evaluation and had 3 people sit down and tell us the same thing you just heard. The words almost seemed like a dream. I heard them, I saw their mouths moving, but I couldn’t fully comprehend it. Within seconds it feels like a ton of bricks just landed right on top of your heart. You feel it drop into your stomach, you get a lump in your throat and the confusion you feel is so much that you can’t quite form words. All I could say was “ok…”
It’s a whole new world that you know nothing about and that is downright scary. You don’t know what it means for you as a parent, what it means for your child and their future or where to turn. You may even be feeling grief. I felt that and it’s painful to admit, but grieving the “loss” of who you thought your child was and then hearing and accepting this word… Autism. It is a grieving process.
But I want you to know that you are not grieving your child’s future, you are not grieving what your child will do or who your child will become. You may feel like that in this moment, but hear me when I say… Your child is still the same child.
I left that evaluation clinging onto the evaluation papers for dear life because it was all I had. I couldn’t sort through all the fear, doubt, and worry in my mind and heart. I clung so hard to them and I cried. I worried about what kind of help Jayce would receive, what kind of future he would have, what he would grow up to be like, how he would do in school and life.
And then after a few days I realized something.
It can only go up from here.
From this point on, your child is still the same child they were before you ever heard that word. From this point on, your child will only grow, learn, and YOU will now be able to help them even better. Autism is not a scary word once you understand that. You now know why your child does certain things, how they learn things, how they see things differently, and you have resources to help them. My son goes to an early childhood program and has flourished beyond my wildest dreams. They work with him daily and his chances of not needing any special education by Kindergarten are looking great. I’m not saying your situation will be like mine because Autism spectrum is just that… a spectrum. But, I’m saying you now have the chance to provide the best education, growth and life possible for your child.
You were blessed with this child for a reason, you were meant to be his/her parent and you are not alone.
If you need extra encouragement or support, please click the link below to join an Autism Mom or Dad Support Group that my husband and I created.