I was reading over some comments online when I ran into one a woman wrote regarding her two year old being diagnosed with Autism. She wrote “my son was diagnosed with full blown autism the most heartbreaking news”. At first read, I felt her pain. At second read, I felt her worry. But after a third time of reading her statement I felt something different. I thought I saw her give up hope.
Nowadays, so many times we miss read, misconstrue, and misunderstand something we read via online. Why? Tone of voice.
We as humans often put our emotions and feelings into how we say our words. Don’t believe me? Ever have your mom say to you “don’t use that tone of voice with me!”. I did, way too often and find myself on the verge of saying it to my oldest daughter EVERY DAY. Why? Because when she says “fine”, its basically a big “f you mom“. I know when she uses that tone of voice she is madder than a wet hen at me, but I contain myself knowing she doesn’t quiet understand the implications of her words (something we are working on).
So when I read that woman’s statement I reread it over and over trying to put myself in her shoes. I have been in her shoes twice before, seen friends in her shoes; yet I have never seen someone feel so hopeless like this woman did.
After reading it for the last time I was filled with so much anger. I honestly don’t understand how a parent, whose sole reason for being (at least mine since I have become a mother), gives up on the reason they are a parent.
Reflecting back on my anger I can see how she feels hopeless. What she is experiencing is not hopelessness, but more along the lines being scared. I do not know her life situation, her education on Autism, or what kind of support system she has; maybe she has none of those things. What must be said and done is by us – those who have already walked in her shoes. We must put aside our own feelings of approaching someone we may not know, and ask them if they need support or want to gain a better education of what a diagnosis can mean.
Never once have I looked at my children and wanted to walk away. Never once have I wanted to stop all therapies and services because I felt there was no hope. I want my children to be the best they can be despite their diagnosis. Their diagnosis does not define who they are or who they will be. They will define that themselves. But if I as their parent stop having hope in them; I have then stopped having hope for them to have a life.
Autism is not a death sentence. It is a ray of hope that illuminates the darkness. So as their parent, do not be afraid of what a Autism diagnosis will bring to your future. It is a diagnosis that will propel your child forward into their future.