Monday, August 4, 2014

Got change?

Many parents feel completely overwhelmed and devastated when their child receives a diagnosis of autism. To be honest, I felt like a part of me and my child died that day in the doctors office when we received the dx on my youngest son first. You can read the complete story by clicking "Links to this post" at the bottom of this page. This was not how I envisioned the future. I went through what they call "the 7 stages of loss", and not necessarily in the following order. Heck, I think over time I have even "revisited" one or two of the stages a couple of times, including going through all of them at the doctors office that day (yeah, I must get around to apologizing to my son's pediatrician). In case you are wondering what they are:pain & guilt, anger & bargaining, depression, acceptance, change, and hope. Maybe you are in one of these stages right now. I think each parent goes through these stages, at their own pace. And why can't we? I don't know about you, but I did not carry my son for 9 months thinking that I was going to have to take my son to speech, occupational therapy, psychologists, advocate the heck out of school just to get my son's rights to an equal education met(story for another time), neuro-developmental pediatricians,tons of testing, only buy certain foods (because that IS all he will eat), only buy certain clothes (because that IS all he will wear), not sing happy birthday (because he covers his ears and absolutely hates it - maybe it's my singing. I'll investigate further on that one and get back to you). I could really go on, but I know you aren't reading this because you don't have anything to do, especially if you are an autism parent or caregiver. I hope if you are in the early stages of loss that this will help you realize that you are not alone. I have heard from other parents that they just can't do it. I say you just can't do it right now. Their is support that can help push you into the positive side of loss. Maybe you already have a form of support (spouse, family, friend, support group, etc.), but you just aren't ready. That's OK. All in due time, my friend. Never let anyone make you feel guilty about taking the time you need. Why? Because when you are ready to move on,you WILL be better prepared to help your child. When I got to this stage, I literally went into overdrive, obsessed (and still am) with learning about anything having to do with autism, supports, services, the law, therapies, etc. I was ready for change. Maybe you won't be as "obsessed" as I was. Either way, you and your child will benefit from your confidence in overcoming your "loss". It's easier to accept change when we have had time to process the unexpected. And let's face it, if we want change - something in us has to have time to change first.