Three years ago, my son Alex was diagnosed with autism and our expected journey changed. I was intimidated, panicked, fearful, distressed. It was a dark and confusing time. Once I wrapped my head around the diagnosis, started digging for resources and support, and over time, I’ve found pieces of advice that might help you on your journey.
Today’s guest is Tani Stevenson. She’s an autism mom of four, with two of her precious kiddos on the spectrum. We’ll be talking about the journey after receiving an autism diagnosis. She’s such a delight, and I hope you find this episode inspiring, perhaps a bit funny, and educational.
#1: Don’t jump to conclusion. There will be so many people telling you so many things – it can be intimidating. Chin up! Push forward!
#2: Things could be worse! Autism is not a tragedy. It will all be ok!
#3: They’re still your beautiful child – with or without a diagnosis.
#4: Do not blame yourself! There isn’t anything that you could have done to prevent your child’s autism. Yes, you may receive stares in public. There will be uneducated people who ask you rude questions. It gets easier with time, and advocacy does wonders for your community.
#5: Do not stay in a dark place. Everyone has bad days, but don’t stay there. Reach out for support. Get involved in your community. Find your tribe!
#6 Do not let the autism diagnosis rob your family. Make special time for everyone – including yourself.
#7 There will be debates on whether you should use the word “autistic” or “person with autism”, to disclose or not disclose your child’s diagnosis. You choose what you feel is right for your family. These debates only cause division in the autism community, and there are other ways to use your time and energy for effectively.
#8 Last but certainly not least, advocate. Make your voice stronger. I guarantee you their little eyes are watching, and their little ears are listening.