When We Got The First Diagnosis

DENIAL – GUILT – ANGER – SORROW – FEAR – ACCEPTANCE – HOPE

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

In Christ,

Mike

The Journey Of a Thousand Miles Begins With One Step

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step” – Lao-Tzu

I don’t know what step our family is on now, but I know we’ve taken quite a few in the six years since our first son’s autism diagnosis. That first step of what to do next after the diagnosis was probably the hardest one we have taken. But, like starting any new project, hobby or interest such as physical fitness, for example, the beginning is always the toughest and most painful.

After just a few days your muscles are so woefully sore you begin to wonder how this could possibly be good for your health. Then after a few more weeks the pain starts to go away, and the slightest evidence of positive gain begins to appear. This empowers you to continue even further. After a few months the pounds are dropping, the tone is shaping up and your strength is making measurable gains. Your self-esteem starts to improve. Your wardrobe begins to change. Your attitude is now energetic and contagious to others. You have proven to yourself that dedicated effort with purpose even when the feat first appeared impossible is worth the painful beginning. You now know for a fact that with the experience you have gained so far that the positive progress will continue if you continue on the journey.

Just imagine if you never even took that first step.

Those first weeks will be just as terribly painful for the parent with a new autism diagnosis. But, with research into treatments, support from other parents who have already been what you are about to endure, and a dedicated focus on a better tomorrow for your child the journey will get easier.

But, you have to make those first steps. There is recovery. There is hope. It is worth it.

After a few years on the pathways in autism you’ll be able to look around, like us, and say, “We may not be where we want to be (in our boys’ development), but we sure aren’t where we used to be.”

God bless,

Mike