Your suspicions are true – or maybe you didn’t have a clue and someone else has pushed you to pursue this diagnosis – either way, there it is:
Your child has autism.
At Vanderbilt, the doctor who gave our second family diagnosis said they hate to shock people by bluntly saying “your child has autism.” They like to spoon feed it to you by saying things like, “after testing, we see that your child does currently meet the cutoff for autism spectrum disorder.”
Well, I’m more of a give-it-to-me-straight kinda person, as is my husband, so my response was “so he’s got autism?” To which, they were forced to reply, “yes.”
So, there, the band-aid’s been ripped off. Now we can step forward and see what we’re really dealing with.
Did we grieve it? Yes. Do we still grieve it at every milestone? Yes, to some degree. Do we praise God for the boys’ strengths that defy the stereotypes? Absolutely.
But we also recognize God’s assignment for us as parents of special needs children:
This will not be easy. People will not understand. Your family will not look, feel or function like everyone elses or as you’d imagined when you were pregnant and it is not a mistake this is so.
You will have to try your best to cut a clear path for your children in a world that is not equipped to handle autism. And whether you want it to be or not, to some degree in your corner of the world, it is now your job to educate others.
But there’s some things you’ll have to take care of first…
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