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

Living With High Hopes and Positive Progress

So what would be the alternative? Keeping your hopes dismally down, and never making any progress? C’mon! For much of my growing years I submitted to the philosophy that you “shouldn’t go get your hopes up, because you might set yourself up for disappointment.” That is probably one of the most depressing and cynical beliefs that one can subscribe to in life. I believe you should get your hopes up and believe that progress is not only possible, but that it will be positive!

I find that having a good spiritual foundation and a faithful outlook on life helps. Knowing that there is plan and purpose behind the challenging and difficult things that happen in life only increases my hopes for positive progress! Everyday I hope that researchers will find more clues to the causation of autism, that more effective treatments will be refined and perfected in assisting those with autism, that society will be more open-minded, patient and understanding with this growing sect of our population. Should one not hope for these things or that positive progress will be made in that I could be sorely disappointed if none of the above happens? I think not! Just as it is the same with the education and development of my boys. I pray and am hopeful that their development is ongoing and productive in nature to help them have the best chance they can in this judgmental, short and cruel world that we all live in!

I am especially hopeful for our #3. My wife has been posting videos and pictures of our youngest little man (he is going on 20 months now). It is so refreshing and hope inducing when I see his positive progress in language. He is communicating like a typical developing 19 month old. Does he have some delays. Sure. But, I pray for and am hopeful for his continued positive progress to develop into the boy and eventual man that God wants him to be. This is how I apply some of my faithful beliefs to both empower and give me comfort for the difficult trials our family faces. Being secure in the belief that we are all created with perfect plan and purpose in mind, I am secure in knowing that God knew how my boys were going to turn out long before I did! And he also knows how the story plays out for them! With that being said, a loving and benevolent God would never give someone a challenge or gift in life if it didn’t fall into His perfect plan and purpose for their life.

Please don’t think I’m preaching at you, but I can assure you that it is much easier to have a higher hope for your auttie in life when you know that all the gains are all up to Him, and that I am just going to provide the best I can in interventions, education and treatment as if all their gains in life depends on us!

Get your hopes up for a better life for your autties and have faith that it is all going to work out exactly as you picture. Because you only get in life what you picture.

God bless,

Mike