It’s strange for me to type those words. Though my gut knew it to be true, it still feels weird to declare it. It gives me mixed feelings.
I admit that my first feeling is relief. I understand that my son will now have an opportunity to get the help he needs. After the appointment, I hugged my husband and cried in the waiting room. I could feel a weight being lifted off me. It felt so good. This was good news in a weird sort of way. Not that any parent wants their child to have a label, but when you’re watching your child struggle everyday, a diagnosis is the first step in turning things around. And let’s be honest, this news isn’t giving him a label for the first time, instead, it’s replacing the current label people have given him such as “brat”, “odd” or “difficult.” A label of autism may bring patience and understanding where it wasn’t before.
After the feeling of relief comes reality.
My son has autism.
And a possible mood disorder too?
What does that mean?
What will his future look like?
How will we be able to help him?
I don’t want to go down the rabbit hole of worry, but there are feelings a parent needs to process whenever your child gets a diagnosis. A diagnosis that will impact their child’s entire life. Sadness is one of them. My husband and I are going through that now.
There are still feelings of anger for having been dismissed by his previous doctor over a year and a half ago, but after talking to the current doctor, she was able to explain that my son “presents well” and that can lead to a misdiagnosis. But she explained that after spending enough time with him, she could see him slip into the ASD behaviors. She also pointed out that a lot of kids higher up on the spectrum don’t get diagnosed until they are older and to a certain extent they can handle things pretty well, like in a clinical setting, until enough stressors surround them, then they completely fall apart. Forth grade was that tipping point for our son.
On a positive note, she smiled and told us how adorable, bright and funny he is. Then she told me that I should read up on “2e kids”. These are twice exceptional kids, intellectually above average, but diagnosed with one or more disabilities. She believes this describes our son. She said it’s like a coin, you have one side that has all the struggles and if you flip it over, you have something pretty special.
I can’t argue with her, he is pretty darn special.
Then I have a final feeling. And would you know it... it’s hope.
Kinda funny after I recently said I was letting go of hope. But there it is, once again floating in front of me like a pretty, shiny balloon.
I have hope that my son will be approved for services and that we’ll be able to give him the support he needs in his school and at home.
I have hope that I will have access to the support I need in order to raise my son.
I have hope that we can now make a difference.
I have hope again.
Hello, old familiar friend.