It’s likely you read the title and weren’t sure what it was. You probably wouldn’t know unless you are an educator or a member of the ASD community. Turns out I’m both of those now. ASD stands for Autism Spectrum Disorder.
My son was diagnosed with high-functioning autism in January. I keep telling myself nothing about him changed. He is the same child he was the month before. The only thing different is a label.
And my heart.
Even though we knew he would land somewhere on the spectrum, it still stung like fire to hear a professional say it out loud. The teacher part of me wanted the diagnosis. The mother part of me did not.
The teacher part of me is glad he will have the resources and accommodations his special needs warrant. The mother part of me cries when I think of the journey we are now officially starting.
I’ve hesitated writing this for many reasons. My thoughts and feelings have been swirling for a few weeks. I feel scattered more than normal and I don’t want that to bleed into this. I needed time to process.
I didn’t cry when the pediatric pyschologist gave the diagnosis. I didn’t cry when I told my husband, coworkers and friends. But the tears wouldn’t stop the day I took him to the dentist.
I like my dentist. I really do. He’s always patient and kind with my children, and this appointment was no exception. But Jack wouldn’t cooperate for a simple cleaning, so x-rays were out of the question. He gently explained we would need to see a pediatric dentist who was more equipped for “these kind of kids”.
These kind of kids.
The tears started coming and I couldn’t stop them. All I could do was nod. He’s right. My kid is one of “those kids”. And while I don’t think he meant any harm, his choice of words rattled me.
That’s when I got on the slope. You know, the slippery one. The one where thoughts start spiraling downward and life seems darker than it really is. The good news is I didn’t stay there. I spoke to myself out loud and told hope to rise up. Then I scrolled through my phone to find an old message from a friend.
I had messaged her the day of the evaluation. I told her a diagnosis wasn’t going to change Jack. He would be the same kid tomorrow as he was today.
She responded: “And God will be the same tomorrow as He is today. The results of this evaluation will be no surprise to Him.”
Her words brought me comfort that morning and again after the dentist appointment. Her words are still bringing me comfort because they are truth. God is still the same. He is near and has an unlimited amount of grace to offer me on this journey.
This diagnosis isn’t changing Jack. It’s changing me.
I’m learning to speak faith to my heart when it gets caught up in feelings.
I’m learning to rest my mind when it feels overwhelmed.
I’m learning to trust even more in the God who will be the same tomorrow as He is today.
Hope is rising in me.
I pray the same for you.