I don’t know where to begin, so I’ll just begin with the fact that Simon was diagnosed with autism earlier in January. We knew for about a month before that to expect his diagnosis, so the “coming to terms with it” part is over. And I’m glad. That part sucked. It was a really hard December.
The way that I deal with things – with new information or big changes – is to read. So I read. I read some great books (Look Me in The Eye by John Elder Robison) and some truly wonderful blogs (Awenesty of Autism, Diary of a Mom). I watched some Ted Talks (Temple Grandin’s) and many informative YouTube videos (Nick Walker’s). If you have questions, like I did, Amythest’s series “Ask an Autistic” is a great place to start.
I can’t answer many questions. I can tell you that we’re doing everything that’s been recommended for Simon (we’re entering the busy world of multiple therapies + developmental preschool), and that he’s been making some phenomenal progress in OT (which he started in November) and speech therapy (which he started in January). I can tell you that he’s as amazing as ever, and that he’s brilliant with numbers, letters, and shapes. I can tell you that he is as sweet and happy as ever. There wasn’t a regression. There wasn’t anything like what I’d always thought would be a tell-tale sign of autism. (He has a million words. He has ALL of the words. He just struggles to communicate with them. But there has been progress, and there will be so much more progress.) I can tell you that he sings beautifully and his art is surprising and wonderful. I can tell you that he’s imaginative and funny (hilarious, actually), and that I don’t worry this month the way I did last month, and definitely not the way I worried two months ago.
I thought I’d never stop crying about this, but all of a sudden, I did stop. I started paying attention to the remarkable autistic people around us who are accomplishing amazing things, and who are living their best, happiest, brightest lives. Autism isn’t what I thought it was, and acceptance (and encouraging acceptance) takes up a lot of room in my heart right now.
I’m excited to see what’s ahead for Simon, and for all of us.