Sometimes I feel like we are part of the “next generation” of autism. I’ve been reading lots of blogs lately. I’m particularly interested in people’s description of “D-Day” (diagnosis day). I’m so saddened by the parents who were told BY DOCTORS that their children would never progress, would never develop communication skills, would live lonely and isolated lives. And these conversations took place only 5 or 6 years ago! For us, while it was very difficult to receive an autism diagnosis… the information was presented quite differently. We met with a PsyD and a speech therapist. They were both compassionate, but optimistic. They assured us that there was treatment available to help our son. They told us that everything we were feeling was normal. They acknowledged that the news they were giving us was overwhelming… but that they were committed to being with us every step of the way. They were not in the business of slapping a label on a child and sending the family out the door. I remember feeling that day that we were at the beginning of a long, difficult journey. But, I also remember feeling that we were going to be able to travel that journey… and that the diagnosis could have been worse. I pictured myself in a doctor’s office, receiving a diagnosis that would close the door on all hope. I don’t want to minimize the worry and anxiety that come with an autism diagnosis… but I do feel grateful for many things. A physically healthy child. A supportive team from EI that helped smooth the way into a good treatment plan. But mostly, for the committed parents, doctors, therapists, advocates who came before us on the autism road and made our experience so different from that of families just a few years ahead of us.
May 17, 2012