The day your child is diagnosed with autism, everything changes, yet nothing changes. You walk out the door with the same beautiful child you walked in with, but things are different. Your child now has a label.
I thought I was prepared. If anyone should have been prepared it was me. My little girl barely spoke, and I knew she exhibited various traits of autism. She already went to an Early Intervention playgroup, that specializes in autism, three times a week. I spoke with the other children’s parents, during the groups, and I have a degree in psychology. Yet, I didn’t think she actually had autism.
Many of the symptoms she exhibited, could be explained with a Sensory Processing Disorder Diagnosis. Her struggle to speak, by motor control difficulties. She smiled and interacted with me… well in her own way, so I just couldn’t wrap my head around the possibility that she was autistic.
The day came, we finally had our appointment for her evaluation with the developmental pediatrician at the children’s hospital. It was raining cats and dogs, and although we got pretty wet, my daughter was in good spirits. She was having one of her “A” days. During our appointment, she was completely her sweet little self. As the doctor asked me questions, I began to realize, that I may have been overlooking some things, or perhaps denying them. Even though I should have been the most prepared parent ever, it still hit me like a ton of bricks to absorb the words. She is on the spectrum.
As I left the office, I felt an odd mix of feelings. I mourned my denial, yet felt relief that the diagnosis may make it a little easier to get her the help she needs. I dreaded the upcoming discussion with my husband. His denial was was a a mighty fortress.
That evening, through his tears, and despite his proclamations that he was going to remain in denial, and that “She was just taking her time”. I knew that it was sinking in. As our daughter did one of her silly dances and babbled some happy jibberish at us, I realized that somehow it would be alright.