All I wanted to do was see my son and for him to see his mom in the audience. Unfortunately, we saw each other cry instead.
You see, it’s been over a year since we heard the doctor utter the words “he has autism.” Shocker, but know what? I cried for a week straight. I had so many questions. I wanted to know why and what did I do wrong to cause this diagnosis. How would I tell my family and friends? Did I have to tell my family and friends? Who would help me with this transition? Would this diagnosis affect his learning? What I did not know was the struggles I would face and the emotional toll the diagnosis would take on my life.
I am the color coded, label everything parent. I am always prepared and ready to tackle what is to come. Not on this day though. I was left speechless, in a puddle of mother and son tears. It all started with a last-minute invitation to a school performance where my child was supposed to be included.
As I write this story and relive the moments, my tear ducts fill again with sadness and anger. I can’t do it. I want to do it. Watch it instead. (Tear flow begins at 2:47)
Vulnerable, confused, and fed up, I had to make the decision to expose my child, his struggles, and my emotions to the world. Expose my child to the world in order to help the world enter his world, while educating them on who he is. I needed to be open to others about him; I needed to expose him to the people he would come into contact with, often for them to help him succeed in the community. Does everyone need to know about his diagnosis? Every person is different; every situation is different.
My son is high functioning and can “pass” as “normal” functioning. He is verbal, smiling, playing with friends (big thanks to ABA therapy), forming his letters, and improving every day. It wasn’t an easy decision to expose him, but it is worth it. He is worth it.
Thank you to his school for giving me permission to expose him and his beautiful mind to the world. I’ve ADAPTED, ADJUSTED, and now ADVOCATING.