To the parents who just got their child’s diagnosis: (Guest Post)

Autism Spectrum Disorder.

That sounds scary, doesn’t it? Didn’t you see on the TV that shooter was Autistic? Is your kid going to be a killer someday? Wait- they said 80% of couples with Autistic kids get divorced. Will that be you? Don’t Autistics have issues communicating? Your child has some issues- will they get worse? Will they never improve? You just thought they were a little behind. Now they will never talk? Maybe you shouldn’t have got their shots? Or did you do something when pregnant? This is all your fault. You failed them as a mom. In fact, you think you read somewhere that people say bad parenting makes people Autistic. Or maybe it’s the screens. He does really like Peppa Pig.

Breathe.

What you have been told about Autism is wrong. Or, at least, it is misrepresented.

Autism isn’t a disease. It’s not a terrible plague, or death sentence. In fact, you have been living with- and growing to love an Autistic person since the day they were born.

That child, that precious child that you love dearly and would give up your life for. The child that you would fight to the ends of the world for. That child, is Autistic.

You know that. You got the diagnosis, right?

But what I mean to say is THAT child. The ONE that is RIGHT THERE. THAT child is Autistic- and always has been.

They might regress, if their environment is too stressing, but it’s not something like cancer where you find out about it, and you know it’s going to get worse. It’s just a label for the challenges your child faces.

You see, Autism is a brain thing.

I know, they use behaviors to diagnose it. I really wish they wouldn’t. Behavioral diagnosis means that your child is one of the lucky ones- because a lot of kids are missed. Not “Autistic enough” even if their brain is indeed Autistic.

So basically, your child has a different type of brain. The way they process things, the way they take in information, the way they communicate information, is all done in a way that is very different from the way you do so– unless, of course, you yourself are Autistic and don’t know it.

And that’s a very real possibility! If you find yourself thinking your child is normal when they get the diagnosis- you might look into the very real possibility that you could be Autistic too!

But back to your child.

Having a brain that works differently can be really tough. From not understanding what others around you mean, to being misunderstood when you communicate in a way that you find very direct and clear. It’s frustrating. it’s maddening. And it’s isolating. But it doesn’t have to be.

You, the parent can really help here! You can learn to “speak” Autistic. You can arrange for your child to have Autistic influences, so they don’t grow up feeling isolated.

Yes, there are probably challenges ahead. This world is not made with the Autistic brain in mind. Others don’t understand. They heard all that terrible stuff that you had heard, before you ever got this diagnosis paper. They don’t know any better.

But, really, life is challenging for everyone, in some way. Autism is just one way.

Please know that nothing you did “caused” this. Your child is amazing! Your child is exactly who they are meant to be. And you, now that you know this thing about them, have the information you need to be the best parent for them.

So, dear parent, please know that this isn’t the end of the world. This is the continuation of the world just as you know it right now. Maybe you will sign up for some therapies- for yourself, for your child. Maybe not.

That little paper changes nothing… and possibly everything when it comes to your child being accepted as who they are, and getting assistances needed throughout life.

________________________________________________
This has been a guest post by fellow autistic Shayna Gier.

 

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