Accepting a Special Needs diagnosis – A Parent’s Perspective
Are you newly accepting a special needs diagnosis? Maybe this perspective will help.
Accepting a Special Needs Diagnosis – Guest Post
You know your child is different from other kids. It is the main reason for going to a paediatrician in the first place. This was me six years ago. I didn’t know a lot about autism at the time, but I needed answers as to why my daughter wasn’t talking.
What’s the process like?
Beginning the assessment process is a big step within itself. Appointments are made with a speech therapist and a child psychologist. Several weeks are spent discussing your child’s development, how they play and many other aspects. This continues for a few more weeks. The process is draining within itself but it needs to be done so you can get some answers.
How do you feel?
I still remember sitting down with the psychologist going through the report that was going to shape my daughter’s future. It hits hard. It’s expected, but it still hits hard with the shock and the grief for the child you thought you were going to have. Being left with so many questions and a ream of paperwork that leaves you wondering.
I remember spending a lot of time searching Google to learn as much as I could about autism. I read articles about Temple Grandin and Carly Fleischmann and tried to gain as much knowledge as I could. It was helpful but still left me with more questions rather than answers. I also remember looking at what causes autism. This might sound strange to you but I wondered – was it something I did when I was pregnant or something I did after my baby was born? The one question that repeatedly goes through your head is “Why me?”
We have a diagnosis – what now?
Be prepared to take quite a while to come to terms with what the future is going to be like. I remember driving home after my daughter was diagnosed. I was sad, confused and, to be honest, I was numb. It took me a couple of years to completely understand and accept my daughter’s diagnosis.
When I suspected my son was also showing signs of autism, I knew what I had to do. I was more aware of the signs and I thought I had dealt with what comes with an autism diagnosis but I was so wrong. I was relieved that my suspicions were correct but I still experienced the shock, the grief and all the questions and doubts that come with the results. The only bonus I have this time is I know the drill. I know what to do next, but it still has taken me a few weeks to get my head around it all.
Accepting a special needs diagnosis in a second child
With my son the cycle has started all over again. He was only diagnosed in August this year, so here I am again getting my head around it all and making my way through the autism maze. I feel so lost when it comes to his diagnosis. I am still trying to work him out and how much autism will affect his life.
You are not alone
If you are a parent to a newly diagnosed child please don’t think you are alon.e I have been where you are right now – twice! I understand the confusion and the shock. Trust me, you will have some really tough days but you will definitely have some amazing ones too.
Having a great support network is so important. Having a speech therapist , occupational therapist, psychologist, paediatrician, great teachers, great school and what ever other supports your child may need is key. Giving your child/children the best possible start really does help. Early intervention is vital. The results may not be seen straight away but they will eventually.
Let your child/children be your autism tour guide. I did and trust me my perspective has completely changed.
This was a guest post from Lara. She is the sole parent (widowed) to two kids with autism. She writes about life as a sole parent, as the parent of a family touched by autism and the highs and lows that come along the way. You can find her at One Piece At A Time.