Having a child diagnosed with Autism can be one of the hardest things a parent can go through with their child.
To hear that your child is not normal, and needs multiple therapies can open a world of confusion, overwhelmed and guilt. For the life and child you had imagined is far out of reach. Or at least that’s how it seems.
The journey during diagnosis is a different story for everyone and is different with every child. Where your journey personally may be different to your partners. But the importance of unity among parents is very important, and the ability to talk out your feelings with each other is paramount. Parents of children with Autism are highly likely to suffer with depression, so being able to vent and be open with each other maybe the best way to deal.
I am going to share the diagnosis story to both my boys.
With Keiran my eldest, it was a long journey to get his diagnosis. We had long been told that Autism was likely, but due to his age they wanted to wait to make sure it wasn’t a case of just being delayed. By the time he just turned 4 the Pediatrician diagnosed him.
At this point it was just a relief that it had finally been done, and denial had passed. We could finally seek out the assistance he sorely needed. But deep down I went into mourning. The realisation that things were going to be a challenge for the rest of his life, ate away at me. My fears became bigger. Was my son ever going to make friends? Was he going to be bullied for the rest of his life? Will he be able to live a proper life?
I started to feel that no one I knew was ever going to understand me. Understand him. That no one would be able to support us.
I even started to feel jealous of other peoples kids. That they will never have to go through the same things my kids will have to go through.
For a period of time, seeing therapists on a weekly basis, turned into a constant reminder that my child was different.
I found myself avoiding people, I didn’t want them to see how different he was, and have them ask all the big questions and give me useless advice.
It wasn’t until I started becoming educated in my son’s Autism and learning the skills to handle it that I started to feel in control again.
Now to move on to child 2. With Davin it was different. We knew early that he was going to travel the same road as his big brother. And he was diagnosed at 2 and a half. The Autism in him was a lot more evident. As much as we knew it was coming, I thought I would be more prepared. I knew what I was facing. But it turned out that his diagnosis was harder to take. I cried for hours after the diagnosis. I re-lived my fears a 2nd time, and I was upset that now I had 2 kids with Autism and had to relive everything over, and there was a possibility Davin was going to be a much more difficult path with a lot more work ahead. I felt tired. I felt very much alone. My husband was on his own path on how to deal and in some cases he took the news a lot more personally. But, I focused quicker this time and worked harder to understand what needed to be done next.
You can sit and cry over something you have no control over and let it plague you. Or you can go out there and do everything in your power to make it easier.
One step at a time, one day at a time.
Talk if you need to, and find people in your part of the duck pond. You are not alone in your journey.