Having a Child Diagnosed with Autism: Changes and Growth
As a parent of a child diagnosed with autism, life changes drastically. The neurodevelopmental condition is on the rise, but many parents are still struggling with what’s ahead. In my case, after noticing subtle signs of a developmental delay in my child, my family reached out to a psychologist who performed an evaluation in our home and diagnosed my son with autism at just over two years old. This diagnosis led to significant changes in our lives that I’d like to share with other parents who may be going through the same experience.
Appreciating Life More
When you have a child who’s struggling in life, you come to realize how valuable life is. As the parent of a “non-verbal” three-year-old, I now know how much the little things matter in life. My son saying “box” and pointing to a box is a great achievement to me. Every effort he makes to communicate is a blessing. Life is fragile, and once you come to terms with the diagnosis, you can let go of expectations and appreciate reality.
Perceiving Things Differently
After my son’s diagnosis, my perception of everything changed. My mind is more sensitive to everything, and I can see, feel, and hear things differently. I can quickly tell what will cause him to meltdown or bring him joy. This ability is constantly evolving as he grows, and I know it’ll continue to change. I may not be able to control the environment around him, but I can help him navigate everyday life.
Valuing Experiences More Than Material Things
Following the diagnosis, I discovered that I don’t need many valuable items. My clothing is inexpensive, and the decor in my house is minimal. Toys are plentiful, but we like to keep the house clutter-free. Valuable collectibles don’t stand a chance in our home, and if they’re broken, it’s okay. As a family, we don’t place much value in expensive items; we prioritize making memories.
Admiring Other Special Needs Parents
Once you become a parent of a child with special needs, you’ll seek out support groups and organizations that can provide you with support. When I meet other special needs parents, I can connect to their struggles easily. If I know you have a special needs child, I’m on your side. The stress of daily life as a special needs parent is real, and we’re constantly worried about the future. Will our child enjoy their life to the fullest? It’s comforting to know we’re not alone, so I urge you to nurture relationships with other special needs parents and provide support to each other.
Changing Your Hopes and Dreams
Before the diagnosis, I considered running a business and returning to work to alleviate the financial stress of our single-income family. But that all changed following my son’s diagnosis. My dreams now include helping families of children with special needs, and disabled people. While I hope to join the workforce in a freelance field, my focus is forever on my children’s well-being first. And I’m excited to see where my new dreams will take me.
Having a child diagnosed with autism changes your life in ways you could never imagine. These changes come with both challenges and growth opportunities. It’s crucial to remember that there is a supportive community available out there who understands what you’re going through. These changes may be difficult to comprehend, but they will teach you about appreciating life, valuing experiences over material things, and are likely to change your hopes and dreams. Remember to stay positive and take things one day at a time.