I was having my hair done recently and got chatting with another client. We were talking about our children and I explained that Harry is autistic. She told me that her friend’s son had recently received a diagnosis of autism and that her friend was struggling to cope with the implications of this.
When I hear something like this, I am instantly transported back to the moment when we received Harrys diagnosis. The point at which life changes but nothing else does. No help suddenly appears, no strategies become overnight successes, no answers find their way to ease your questions. Its a scary place but with hindsight, I know now that in reality, it changes very little.
Your child is still the same child they ever were. Their behaviours and quirks remain and if anything, become a more recognisable part of who they are once you understand why. They still love and need you. The change isn’t in your child, its in us as their parents.
Our expectations for the future suddenly shift, the implications of that on our own lives slowly dawn on us and we know that we will have to become the fierce advocates we never planned to be. THATS what requires the adjustment and I would be lying if I said it wasn’t hard. Some days its so bloody hard! We want all the answers now but it all comes together one day and step at a time. Again, thats hard. Particularly if patience for you, like me, is not a quality you have in abundance.
But know that the phrase “your child is autistic” is not a life sentence, it’s just a sentence. It’s a description, not a definition and while life will undoubtedly be different to the one you expected, the pure love and incredible bond you had hoped for as a parent will still be there.
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