So much has happened since my daughter was diagnosed with ASD a little over a year ago. October 2013 to be exact. I went through so many different emotions I felt like a nut case. I went through about a million different “what happens when” and “what if” scenarios. I didn’t help that there is a waiting list just about everywhere that feels like an ocean between you and the help you want for your kid you love so much.
One of the feelings that I didn’t expect to feel was guilt. Not that she had autism. I don’t believe I could have done anything different. I felt guilty because I was relieved when they had a name for all of the things we didn’t understand. It was a starting point. It was an answer to all of the questions we had been having. Even though the word autism kind of knocked the breath out of me, it also brought relief that we didn’t have to keep searching for answers. We knew what was going on, and where to look for answers. Well, sort of.
Using the word autism was so difficult at first. I was afraid of how she would be treated if people were to find out. I wanted to protect her. Over time, I realized that autism gives her so much to be proud of as well. As a family, we decided to take ownership of labels like autism and therapy. We decided that those were ours and we would teach her to use them correctly. We wanted to teach her that she doesn’t have anything to be ashamed of. We are proud her no matter what and she should be as well. There’s nothing about her I need to hide because I’m not ashamed.