What They Didn't Tell Me About My Childs Autism:
Here are some things you will not find in your research on Autism.
will not learn how this diagnosis will affect your marriage or other
members of your family. You will not be told how it may fundamentally
alter your perceptions of what is "normal," how it may change your view
of human beings, how it can force you to question small talk and why we
behave the way we do, how it will transform your outlook on life, how it
will change you, how your life and everything you assumed to be true,
is no longer what you thought.
Having a child with autism may
cause you to feel things you never dreamed possible. You may know
moments of joy and moments of despair you could not have imagined. You
find yourself going to untold lengths in the hope of helping your
child. You may feel distracted, unable to concentrate. Your work and
career may suffer. You may learn what it is to be sleep deprived. You
will come to know what it means to feel desperation. You will know
sorrow in a way no one can prepare you for. You will know happiness in a
way no one can prepare you for. Sometimes you may feel both sorrow and
happiness within the same day, within the same hour, within the same
You may spend money you do not have on yet another
treatment, yet another doctor, yet another specialist, yet another
therapy, yet another intervention, all the while rationalizing that if
it helps, it will all be worth it. You may contemplate doing things you
would have scoffed at before your child was diagnosed. You may find
yourself trying things that defy logic and have no medical basis. You
may listen to implausible, anecdotal stories and think -- we will
try that next. You may dream your child is speaking to you in full,
complex, beautifully self aware and revealing sentences. You may wake
from those dreams believing for a few seconds they were real and not a
dream. You will pray that you might dream again. You will welcome sleep,
as you never believed possible. You may ache with sadness because your
child is crying and in pain and your presence brings them no solace.
That ache may become unbearable when your child hits themselves in the
face, bites their own arm or hand, punches their own legs or stomach.
You may question every maternal instinct you have.
You may feel
ecstasy from being hugged, unprompted. You may feel the exquisite joy
from having your child reach for you, ask for you or look at you. You
may know the joy that comes from seeing your child work so hard at
something that does not come easily to them. You may celebrate when they
use the bathroom unaided, drink from a cup, sleep for
more than a few hours without waking you, try a new food or simply
acknowledge your presence. You may feel a gratitude you would not have
believed possible. You may cry from happiness when they say a word, any
word, even if you are the only person who can understand what the word
is. You will know what it is to appreciate commonplace things -- eye
contact, the correct use of the word "me," "you" and "I," physical
contact initiated by your child, a word, any word spoken or a smile.
will feel a fierce love for your child that seems to come from a place
that is not of this world. You will know what it is to love
unconditionally and you will understand what that really means.