For most parents, even prior to the big diagnosis day you have a sense that something is different with your son or daughter, but having a doctor tell you that your child has autism is a life changing conversation. Some experience shock, sadness, and a massive feeling of being uncertain as to what the future holds for their child. Other parents experience a sigh of relief because now they have a better understanding of why their child’s behaviors are they way they are. The biggest challenge is not accepting the diagnosis as hard at it may seem on day one, but where to get started after you get home and back into your daily grind now knowing how your little one sees the world.
I remember going home very shaken up after my son’s diagnosis, and running to the computer to start researching autism and what his life would now look like. The sad part is, once you begin Googling the topic it only worsens any feeling you already had as there is way too much information on the web about autism. It completely differs from child to child also, making almost no two kiddos living with autism living the same life experiences. Many children living with a form of autism are extremely high functioning, and they can totally attend school in mainstream classrooms, and hold a job like their peers.
Personally, I think what overwhelms us as parents is the fear of the unknown. How will my child’s autism progress or lesson over the years? Will my child be able to make friends, or attend a school dance like everyone else? These are all completely normal ways to react to the diagnosis day, as it is emotional and likely a day you will remember forever. The great thing is that everyday there are more and more autism schools, autism centers, teachers more well trained to develop autistic students in their classrooms, and more children with autism to gather together at local meetings and make friends with. Autism without question is a challenging way to raise a child, but it also a manageable one now too. So many parents are becoming champions for their kiddos and other parents to help assist with the adjusting phase of learning this new normal in your family.
Here are some valuable resources for parents: