April 1st marked the first day of Autism Awareness Month and while I expected to see lots of news stories dedicated to autism awareness I was stunned that so many of the stories seemed to be negative.
All I could imagine as I read them was: What if I read something like this after Will was diagnosed????
Finding out your child has autism is hard enough.
But to have someone slam horrible statistics in your face, describe all of their worst moments while failing to highlight anything wonderful about their child, and telling you to prepare for divorce… it’s just irresponsible.
I will not give credit to these articles, as they’ve already received enough attention, but I would like to give all parents of newly diagnosed children some of my own advice.
This is Will the day before he was diagnosed with autism.And this was Will the day I was told he was “severely autistic”.
Nothing changed. PERIOD.
Will was the same awesome, happy little boy the day he was diagnosed as he was the day before.
And, I will admit, it took me some time to recognize that.
It took going through the cycles of grieving and it not only was ok, but it was completely normal.
No one sets out wishing for anything but perfection in their child and when you think you’re being told your child isn’t perfect, it takes some time to adjust, but in time, most parents actually realize that autism or not, their child is perfect after all.
I’m not saying everyone gets there, or that everyone embraces autism, but anyone who genuinely loves their child won’t care what the doctors say. They won’t care what the statistics say. They will only care that their child has everything he needs to be happy.
As a parent living with autism in your life, you find faith you never knew existed, strength you never knew you had, and an unbelievable amount of support in the autism community when you’re ready for it.
Take time to let the diagnosis set in and don’t let anyone tell you you’re taking too long or not enough.
Your time is your time.
Allow yourself to accept your reality and then…
just live it.
And the rest…
you just make it up as you go along 😉