Getting a Diagnosis
I've always known he was different, so I wasn't shocked or blindsided by a diagnosis. We ended up seeking out a diagnosis because we knew we would need it in order for him to get the services he needed (like ABA therapy). I knew that the day we went in for "the appointment" that we would leave with an "official" autism diagnosis.
Not the answer you expected?...Then maybe this is: I still cried. You see, even though I knew it deep down, it is hard to hear that your child will forever carry this diagnosis and is labeled "special needs." It's hard. And it stinks.
The hardest part for me was feeling like I had failed him. I took a leave of absence from my job this year so that I could be home with him. I could work with him one-on-one and really target the areas that were most affected. Maybe, just maybe, we could improve those areas enough that he would avoid a diagnosis.
So when I bit the bullet and scheduled the appointment for his psychological evaluation, in a way, I was admitting defeat. I was admitting that I couldn't fix him, I couldn't fix those little things that all added up to "autism."
Being a therapist, I had placed so much burden on myself to do just that: fix him. I mean, what kind of therapist am I if I can't help my own son? Even worse, what kind of mother does that make me if I can't fix him?
As I write this, I see the error of my thought process. He doesn't need to be fixed, he just needs to be helped. His brain may work differently, but he isn't broken. He will (most likely) never learn the same way Finley does, but that doesn't make Colin's learning style insufficient in any way. He may take longer to learn things, and that's okay too.
We take each day as it comes. We truck through the rough moments and celebrate his victories. Some days I think about his future, and I worry what that will look like. I just want him to be happy...isn't that what we all want for our children?
This is why I started this blog. I want to raise awareness and acceptance so that he can live in a world where he is understood, accepted, and happy. He is different, not less.