An open letter to parents/caregivers of a child newly diagnosed with autism.....
So now you know.
You have confirmation of what you’ve feared all along, you knew something was wrong, but you couldn’t quite figure out what. Now you have an official diagnosis; your child has Autism. You’re probably feeling a range of emotions, sadness, anger, confusion, frustration, helplessness and you’re asking yourself if somehow you did something to cause this and what you could have done to prevent it. Please don’t blame yourself, none of this is your fault.
I’m one of those people who believe that anything that happens good or bad is meant to happen. I believe that my destiny was to have a child with Autism because fate has big plans for my life. If you’re not a spiritual person or don’t believe in God it’s ok . If you happen to believe in God, this would be a good time to lean on him. The next couple of days, weeks, and months will be the hardest. You’re going to have people tell you what they think caused it, you’re going to have people offer you a “cure".My advice would be to filter all the noise, don’t get upset, because most of these people mean well, they just don’t fully grasp what you’re dealing with.
The first thing I recommend is to get in touch with your feelings. Cry, yell, scream, let it all out, come to terms with your new journey and don’t forget if you have other children who are not on the spectrum, understand that they will be affected by all of this. Tell them that they can talk to you or a professional about how they feel then get ready for the long road ahead .
When my son was diagnosed with Autism, I will never forget the words his neurologist said to me when I asked him “what now"? He said, “First you have to mourn the child you thought you were going to have and the dreams you had for that child, then set new goals and have new dreams. Every milestone he reaches will be your dreams coming true." I am not saying you should give up on your child; your child may be able to achieve all the goals you set. However, my point is that the Autism spectrum is so wide. In my case, my son is on the severe end of it; he also has intellectual disabilities so, for me, my son being able to use utensils properly for the first time at ten years old was one of the best moments of my life.
Another thing I would recommend is to find your “tribe." You’re going to need all the help and support you can get, find support groups online or in person, find people who are going through the same thing. Please reach out to us at Autism Solace because this is what we’re here for if you need to talk, vent or need us to listen. We have first hand experience and we are here to offer support and resources. You’d be surprised how much talking helps when you feel like your world has come to an end. Most importantly you need to realize that you are your child’s advocate. When you fully comprehend this, you will find the strength you never knew you had and fight like the warrior you are because your child depends on you for survival.
You got this ! We got this !!!