This is for the mama whose child just got an Autism diagnosis. This was me 3 years ago. (whoa).
I know how hard this is and how you’re feeling right now. Almost like the whole world has stopped. Maybe you saw this coming. Maybe you still feel a little blindsided. Maybe you’re angry it took this long (those waitlists can be far too long, I know). Maybe you’re relieved to finally get the help your child needs.
I’d hazard to guess that you’re a little bit (or a lot a bit) of all of those things, wrapped into one. And it’s okay. It’s okay to be all over the place. It’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to be angry. It’s okay to be relieved. It’s OKAY. What you are feeling is normal and it’s OKAY.
This journey will not be easy. It’s going to be full of ups and downs. What journey worth taking isn’t, though, right? You were made for this. You may not see that now, and that’s fine. But I believe in you.
My biggest tip? Be the squeaky wheel- don’t be afraid to make noise, make yourself be heard, be your child’s biggest advocate! Always trust your mama instinct but also listen to the professionals and take in what they say. At the end of the day, YOU always know your child best and you know what’s best for him. Never stop fighting for him! If something doesn’t feel right, change it!
YOU’VE GOT THIS. The diagnosis is hard but it’s a step towards help for your sweet little one… and you! And remember, it doesn’t change who they are. He/she is still the perfect kid they always have been- and always will be. A diagnosis does not change who your child is to their core. Remember that. They still need you. They still love you. They still deserve a childhood. It’ll just look a little different from the norm. It’ll look like what they need.
Yes, you’ll feel guilt. You’ll see typical kids playing in the park while you’re taking your child to yet another therapy session. You’ll see other kids walking next to their parent while you’re struggling to pick up your own flailing child.
But over time, you’ll learn what works. You will learn SO MUCH. Take it all in. Sit in on therapy sessions. Ask questions. Take notes. Learn how your little one ticks. What makes them happy and content. How they learn best. You’ll learn that visual schedules are an amazing tool, you’ll learn that routines are key. You’ll learn that every single child is different and unique and beautiful.
You’ll learn to find the people who really love your kid, and accept them for who they are. And you’ll hang on to those people. You’ll learn to forget the rest. You’ll learn people are always well-meaning, but don’t always know what to do, how to act, what to say. And that’s okay. You’ll learn to have tougher skin. You’ll learn that crying is therapeutic. You’ll learn that you are strong and capable and brilliant (and so is your child). You’ll learn to presume competence- ALWAYS.
And you’ll learn that you are NOT alone, not ever. And your child is so lucky to have you. I know the shock and sadness that comes with a diagnosis all too well, but also that slight relief, because now you can go about getting him the right services that will help him and allow him to flourish!
And flourish he will!
Remind yourself that your child is still your sweet boy or girl- the same they were before you heard those words- and it doesn’t change that, at all. They are yours and they are perfect.
A FEW RESOURCES:
– An Early Start for Your Child With Autism : Read this book. It was life changing for us.
– The Out-of-Sync Child Has Fun : this is full of activities to do with your child. So good!
– Welcome to Holland. Someone sent this to me when I first shared about Sam’s diagnosis, and each time I read it, it hits closer and closer to home and I feel like it means more to me now than it did in the beginning. So poignant.
– Contact your regional center. They should have lots of local resources!
-And feel free to email me any time, [email protected]
SOME RELATED BLOG POSTS:
– My Boy (where I shared our diagnosis for the first time)
– My Top Learning and Sensory Toys for Autism
– Potty Training Tips (and how we potty trained Sam)
– A Really Really Hard Day
– Some Thoughts on Motherhood (and parenting typical and special needs kids)
– Love Like That (Autism and siblings)
TRUTH…Sam is so blessed to have such a incredibly wonderful mommy!!!
Aw, Beth, thank you!!!
Cannot love this more ❤️ Thank you for sharing
Thanks so much, Shannon!
Katie, thank you for sharing this. My 2.5-year-old son has a neuropsych evaluation this upcoming week, after months of waiting. In that time, I have felt all the things you described. While we don’t have an autism diagnosis yet, in my heart I already know. Of course I also know that doesn’t change my very special boy, but it is sometimes hard not to think about what might have been. That “Welcome to Holland” piece… wow… really hits close to home. ????
I can’t thank you enough for your openness in sharing your experience. ???? I read your blog regularly and admire your grace and authenticity, and how you fully embrace motherhood and all it entails.
Oh, Julie, lots of love to you. That waiting period is SO HARD. Thank you so much for your kind words. You are so strong- I’ll be thinking of you and praying for you!!