A letter to the parent of a newly diagnosed child with autism

You just received the diagnosis that your child has autism. You might have suspected it or it may be a surprise. Either way, condolences and congratulations.

You have just joined a group of parents united in a common experience by no choice of your own. You are probably experiencing many emotions, among them grief, shock, denial, and fear. You don’t feel up to the task and may be asking yourself a few questions:

–          Why my child?

–          Why ME?

–          What did I do/not do?

–          What do I do now?

     I don’t know why your child, I didn’t know why my child had autism until I did some family research.  I found that my father’s family had several  generations of people with characteristics that were probably autism, some classic and many more high functioning. It probably explains why I found my way into Electrical Engineering. Not all children with autism have a family history of autism. Sometimes it just happens.

  You didn’t do anything to cause this. You didn’t eat magic beans or some other food that caused this. Right now, there is not a simple reason for why some children get autism. Don’t take on guilt about how it happened. There will be plenty of guilt to deal with later on.

  What do you do now? You live, though right now it sure doesn’t seem easy. Trips to the store seem painful, restaurants other than drive thru are a distant memory, and vacations seem a far away dream. Life seems to be made up of tiny experiences, each fraught with potential issues and explosions.

But you are not alone. There are many of us on the journey here to help. And you will learn how very strong you are in this journey. For you are carrying your child and yourself as you go. You have to learn to pace yourself, because the journey is a marathon, not a sprint.

There will be wonderful days. Many kids with autism seem to carry that child like wonder of the world with them longer than other kids. And you get to experience it with them. Many have talents in music or handling animals that are wonderful to observe. When you get to the point where you can celebrate who they ARE instead on mourning who they MIGHT HAVE BEEN, you are doing better.

I hope that I, with this blog, can add some encouragement to your journey.


3 thoughts on “A letter to the parent of a newly diagnosed child with autism

  1. I have a special needs cousin. I am so in awe of her innocence. She always brings a smile to everyone’s face and her upbeat personality is always contagious. She is one of the most beautiful human beings on the planet, yet she for some reason loves me. She is truly one of God’s special angels and I am so very thankful to have her in my life. God choose her to be my cousin, but even better than that is that we also get to be friends.

  2. love this 🙂 I always need a reminder to celebrate who Aiden IS and not who I thought he should be or might have been. He is definitely an animal lover and it’s so cool to watch how gentle and loving he is with our dog and rabbit. And I do love the innocence. It does stay longer. Thanks for writing this!

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