Life After Diagnosis: How Will My Son Fit Into the World?
This time last week, I still felt a little jubilant -- maybe even a bit victorious.
My son had just been diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum. As the psychologist spoke, I saw how all of the behavioral issues we'd faced made sense. It made me feel hopeful: Now that there was a name to all of this, I could do some reading. I could research. I could figure out how best to relate to my son and help him succeed in school, life, and everything.
That's how I felt at this time last week.
Today, I realize why the doctor looked at me with such gentle concern at the end of our appointment and said, "You realize that you didn't do anything to "make" him like this, right?"
"Well, duh," I thought. I have friends with autistic children -- friends who are good people and good parents to whom I look up, so I didn't think that autistic children were "made."
I'm my harshest critic, however, and as the days wore on, part of me wondered what I could have done differently, if there wasn't something that I'd done wrong after all. What if, what if, what if...
Logically, I know that I didn't break my child. I guess I just want to feel like I have more control than I do, and that maybe, if I start doing whatever I supposedly should have done at the beginning, all of this will turn around. He won't be autistic anymore.
He is still my son. The same little boy with whom I have made thousands of memories, and who I love to the ends of the earth, off the spherical edge and all the way towards the non-existent ends of the universe. He is my boy; my feelings for him have not changed. My perception of his awesomeness and status as best child to ever exist does not waver.
It's just... I know how the world is set up. It's made in a series of basic-shaped holes for the standard, expected majority of basic-shaped pegs to easily slide through. It's constructed for the circles, rectangles and triangles of the world. It is not built to easily accommodate the pegs shaped like stars, butterflies, flowers.
The bright side -- which the doctor also noticed -- is that he really wants to be a part of the world. His little brain is working overtime, trying to figure out how it's constructed so that he can fit in. Basically, he has a goal. He also has a team of specialists ready to help him to reach it -- and me, of course. Of course I'm going to help him, because that is what a mom does, right? Oh, and because I am his number one fan. Yes, I am. (I am not, however, 6'3" nevermind a quarter of an inch bigger.)
Okay. Deep breath. Time to make awesomeness happen.
(Originally posted at Life With Dog and Tiger)