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Acceptance Without Diagnosis

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I am the mother of a High Functioning Autistic child. So often, parents of children with disabilities find themselves feeling as if they are on the outside of what would be considered normal parenting. Care giving a special needs child is very demanding and the milestones we celebrates are taken for granted by the parents of ‘normal’ children.

Recently, I wrote an article for Western New York Family magazine on the search for an answer concerning the diagnosis for my daughter. We had been working towards a proper diagnosis for five and a half years, only to keep grasping at shadowy answers. Living day to day, not totally sure what the problem was, but knowing there was something wrong is just as challenging as already having a solid diagnosis for your child. You may find yourself feeling pity for the parent who knows their child is Autistic or developmentally disabled in another sense. Don’t. They are the lucky ones, though they may not know this.

Each morning, when you wake up, if you already have the diagnosis for your child, you know what to expect. You have routines, you have information at your fingertips, you know what the issue is. For the parent who does not know, it can be a nightmare. A flurry of doctor visits, school meetings, wrong placements, schools that need you to remove your child because they do not know how to deal with a wrongly labeled child. Genetic evaluations. It goes on and on.

You can find solace, though. My husband, who I could not have followed my dreams of being a writer or stood so strong during this time, summed up the situation in such a manner that he inspired me for life. He said that no matter what diagnosis we end up with or without, our child is just that, our child. Nothing will ever change the love we have for her or the joy each step in her development brings us. Without her disabilities, we would never have delighted as much in her first words, which were anticipated for nearly three years. Her first drawings, the first time she used her imagination to tell a story. Heck, her first lie!

If you are the parent of a child who is special needs, no matter if you have a diagnosis or not, find your inspiration. Each and everyday can give you an amazing amount of joy, even amidst the challenges.

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