These are the stages the experts say a parent goes through after their child is diagnosed with autism.
Denial was a short stage for me. My only thought was “Let’s get a second opinion to confirm it.” I wanted to be 100% certain.
Guilt made me feel in that something in my genetics brought it on. For a long time I felt responsible somehow for causing it.
Anger first built up when I learned there wasn’t a quick fix to my son’s condition, and that, selfishly, “I’d” have to deal with it for life.
Sorrow was more for my son’s life, and how he wasn’t going to be able to have a “full” life like “normal” people do. What is normal anyway?
Fear was primarily of the unknown in the future, and if I was properly prepared to be the father of an exceptional child.
Hope I had from day one. As someone who loves the Lord, I was reminded often in my fallen thinking that everything is based from a perfect plan in life.
I find myself meandering through all these stages now and again as my son develops and hits (or misses) certain milestones. Sometimes I’ll have my days where guilt will return, or I’ll get angry for something caused by the disorder and sometimes something will trigger some sorrow on rare, random occasions. Many times in my frustration I’ll find myself asking victim-like questions such as, “Why me?” or “Why him?” when I try to rationalize the burdens we special needs parents have that are exclusive to only us.
But, I never, ever lose hope. And I am always reminded that God, before the beginning of time, decided in His perfect plan and for his perfect purpose to make my son just the way he is…perfect. Our family strives hard to walk daily by faith, and not by sight.
“And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” – John 9:1-3