I remember the moment each one of my kids was diagnosed with Autism. It’s permanently seared into my brain because these moments are among the most pivotal in my life.
One of the things I remember most was how much guilt I felt as our Autism journey began. I felt like I had sentenced my kids to a life of misery because them having Autism was somehow my fault. That guilt ate me alive for a long time. Truth be told, there are still moments where that guilt pops back up, even after all these years.
I wanted to take a minute and talk to the Autism parents of the world, especially those just starting this crazy, wonderful, confusing and overwhelming ride.
Speaking from personal experience, and extensive contact with families from across the globe, it’s extremely common for the parents of the newly diagnosed to seek out someone or something to blame, including themselves.
Your child being diagnosed with Autism is not your fault and it’s certainly not your child’s fault. It’s not the doctor’s fault or even the fault of vaccines. It’s so easy to assign blame when something like an Autism diagnosis occurs. Often, we don’t fully understand the diagnosis at first. In a knowledge vacuum, fear, anger, and heartache can take over.
It’s important to understand that none of this is your fault. Blaming other people and or things isn’t going to help either. Nothing you do is going to undo an Autism diagnosis.
The best thing you can do is accept the diagnosis for what it is and begin to move forward. Until you do that, you’ll be stuck in a place where nothing good can come from. You owe it to yourself and your child to focus on what you can control and you won’t find that in the past.
Put your efforts into learning everything you can about Autism. Connect with other Autism parents who can help guide you through. It may not occur to you but there are many adult Autistics who can be an unbelievable resource. They have helped me out countless times and I can’t stress that enough.
The whole point is that there’s plenty of things in life to feel guilty about. We all make mistakes and do things we later feel guilty for, our child being diagnosed with Autism should never be one of them.
Before I leave, I didn’t get into all the amazing things you’re going to experience as an Autism parent. Trust me, there’s plenty of amazing when it comes to kids on the Spectrum. I’ll focus on that in another post. For now, focus on getting your feet underneath you, taking a deep breath and moving forward. ☺