The words will forever remain in my head as if it happened yesterday, “your child has Autism”. After reading and researching every aspect of the spectrum, I knew that this was identical to my Isaac. I knew from the moment he was 3 years old. I had fears as his mom, fears for him, and tons of questions. I knew that it would take time to sink in. The initial diagnosis made it hard to breathe and it took me a while for the news to register in my head.
I would love to say that things were easier from that point. But they weren’t. It became harder and harder to reach him. From the tantrums, and bursts of energy (he also was diagnosed with ADHD he is not medicated, but I’ll leave that for another post). His behaviors became more aggressive and at that moment I felt I lost my sweet boy.
I wasn’t going to let it happen. I was going to overcome every obstacle to help him, encourage him, and love him. I didn’t know where the strength would come from and didn’t know how I was going to do it with 2 other kids to care for. The how did not matter to me. I was going to take it one day at a time and help my boy through this journey. Once the change within me happened nothing was going to stop me. I started to research (again) and study his behaviors. I took my own personal data on top of what we had through his Applied Behavior Analysis therapy. I wanted to do everything I possibly could to find a way.
In the beginning, I would get frustrated beyond words. I felt lost and discouraged. Don’t get me wrong, this still happens but now it’s happening less. I am more in control than I have ever been. I have organized my life to speak slower and in a different tone, with my other kids as well. By doing this and having an acceptance towards my son’s diagnosis it has made me stronger. I have been able to teach Isaac in a way others have not been able to. While teaching him my other kids are learning. They are accepting of Isaac and always wanting to help through the tantrums or difficult transitions. They are there for him. This has encouraged me more than anything, the bond they created through ASD. Although they may not understand what exactly it is, but they know he needs help. They know that he’s a sweet boy that occasionally needs a few motivating words like, “good job Isaac” or “your awesome”. Things like this go a long way in our home. Being able to watch it all unfold before my own eyes is an amazing feeling as a mom.
Are things going to be perfect? No. It will be hard and there will be challenges and difficulties. But acceptance will help you to overcome the hardships. Isaac having ASD has taught me so much about being a mom and an overall person. It has shown me the person I want to be not just for him, but for myself. I see something in his eyes every day that allows me to wake up, Thank God and remind myself there is light at the end of a once dark tunnel. I have learned that everything he is facing every day is more than I can imagine. Having compassion for his daily struggles helps us to get through each day. Setting time for just he and I to spend together is crucial to our success. It’s not always easy, but it’s getting better. I have found myself to be more patient and loving since the diagnosis. But that did not happen overnight. It has taken me a long time to get here and believe me I plan on growing even more.
I know that together we can go through this journey and find healing through prayer and support from other parents, educators, and family members. I know that there is hope. So, my advice to all the parents going through this, doesn’t matter if your child has been diagnosed for one year or one day, you are amazing. You will find a way and be the one true advocate your child has. Love them, learn about them and educate others is the goal for our kids. Hang in there and know you’re not alone.