" I just found out my child has autism. What are we going to do?! How are we going to cope with this?! What will their future look like?"
Does this sound familiar? These are all common reactions when parents first hear the news that their child has autism. Some parents have a more difficult time coping than others. I was a person that didn't take it too hard. In fact, I don't even think I cried. Why? Well, here are some reasons.
1. Bear was the same child when I got the diagnosis that he had been the past two years. He is the child I carried for a little over 7 months. The same little boy that smiled every time he saw me. An autism diagnosis was not going to change that, ever. I felt so blessed that I had this child in my life.
2. He is healthy! Autism is a social and communication disorder. It's not a disease. I was not sitting at my child's hospital bed hoping they get better soon. How can I complain about autism when there are parents going through that? I just didn't see how I could do it.
3. I looked forward to the challenge of overcoming the stereotypes of autism. I looked forward to seeing how much he will grow with the help of me, my husband, his brother and sister, and the many great people that work with him. I wanted to help Bear surpass anyone's expectations.
4. Some of the qualities Bear had that I loved were because he had autism. He is very independent and can find ways to entertain himself. Even if it is just spinning the wheels on a car, he knows what he wants to do and he does it. He eats more healthy food because he is so picky in an odd way. He loves mashed potatoes and bakes beans, but won't touch McDonald' chicken nuggets. He always slept well at night as a baby because he just rocked himself to sleep. How can you not love that? :)
These are the things that kept me from feeling like Bear's diagnosis wasn't the end of the world. It is not the end of the world. There are many out there dealing with much worse than autism. We all need to count our blessings and move forward. We definitely do not need to feel sorry for ourselves or have others feeling sorry for us. There's no need for that. Focus on the positives and build on that!