Diagnosed with autism… CONGRATS!!
Has this happened to you Seth’s Mom family? You share with a parent of an autistic child that your child was just diagnosed with autism and they say congratulations. Some of you will say YES this has happened to me. Saying congratulations, may seem like an unusual, maybe even cruel, thing to say to a parent who just found out that their child has a life-long diagnosis that will impact their ability to learn, work, and play with others (child or adult we all play). When a parent finds out that it may take a team of specialist to teach your child basic skills such as reading and writing his name, or even toileting, is that a time to celebrate?
In the beginning
When some of our Seth’s Mom parents found out they have a disabled child they felt a range of emotions. Some parents felt guilty because they were convinced they did something to cause their child’s condition. Some were angry that it was happening to their family. Some even mourned the child they thought they would have, and the experience they thought they would have watching that child grow to have a family of his own. Some parents felt all of these emotions. In fact, some have felt so overwhelmed they gave up, leaving only one parent to care for the child. As we’ve discussed before, parents of disabled children wear many uniforms and carry many titles: mother, father, advocate, behavior specialist, triage nurse, doctor, psychiatrist. We do it all. And in the beginning, when some of us hear “congratulations” we feel like we’re being mocked or that the amount of work we put into supporting our children is not respected. In the beginning, many of us want to be asked simply… what do you need?
Time to celebrate
So, why in the English muffin would someone say congratulations in a situation like this? Should you be happy that your child is diagnosed with autism. Indeed, on it’s face it may seem mean or tone deaf, but here’s a little perspective. Without a diagnosis, your daughter would not receive accommodations. You would not know what those clicks, those hand flaps, the pacing, the lack of eye contact, or any of the many symptoms of autism mean. You would not be another step closer to accepting all of her wonderful unique qualities that make you love her. Indeed, without that diagnosis you, and she, would still be burdened with the question of “why is this happening.” Many of our Seth’s Mom parents want to celebrate when they find out that another family finally knows what is going on and they will finally have access to the resources they need. They feel a sense of relief for you and your child because now you know what it all means.
Congratulations self-advocates on knowing who you are! Congratulations moms and dads for better knowing your child! Now tell us… what do you need?
Contact us for a SETH TALK and share your celebration story.
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