Your 18 month old son or 2 year old daughter has just been diagnosed with Autism.
Anger is an emotion that commonly veils other feelings, like worry, sadness, hate, depression, fear, insecurity. How do you feel?
Are you angry at the specialists who brought it to your attention? Angry at the doctors who seem so cold hearted as they objectively and systematically check criteria off of a list? Scared that you aren’t sure who will take care of your child when you are older and can no longer take care of yourself? Scared that your youngster will be living with you for the rest of your life? Scared that the disability with all of its therapies will run you into debt? Who wouldn’t be angry or especially, fearful?
Do you remember when your child, who, just 6 months ago was saying mama and dada? Are you sad that your child is not like the rest of the children? Do you begin to bargain with yourself or your spouse that you will completely change your life for the betterment of your child? Begin fervently praying and become a religious zealot that God will grant you your wish for your child to be ‘normal?’
Do you ever accept that your child has Autism? Some parents fight it everyday, while others finally come to terms with accepting their child’s diagnosis. As an Autism Specialist, parents’ say their child was so vibrant, and were reaching their milestones at the normal pace. What is painful to hear, is that they have lost their child, something… has taken their life, their personality and their soul, replacing it with something, someone else.
Are you fearful of the present and the future? Do you wonder what will happen to your child? Do you think he will ever learn to speak? Will he ever be independent, hold a job, get married?
Perhaps before you even get the results, you are secretly hoping it isn’t the dreaded diagnosis -even though all the information you’ve received surely indicates it. With my training in the field of Autism and having worked with children with disabilities for a nine years now, sometimes it’s still a shock to hear the diagnosis.
It’s okay to feel the fury of the emotions, but it’s not okay to hide and pretend that you are okay. Seek help through counselors, doctors and support groups. Many of these professionals can assist with a variety of strategies to help you and your loved ones cope. Don’t let Autism ruin your life, your marriage or your mental health. Become active, and advocate for the rights of your child.