A diagnosis can be a positive turning point in a child’s life as it can lead to funding and interventions that help both the child and their family. It can lead to specialist care and most importantly it can lead to greater understanding and inclusion.
Try to see a diagnosis as a positive step forward and a way for you and your child to receive greater understanding and support. However, with that being said many parents experience a sense of loss, which may pertain to a loss of one’s old life (the way it used to be) or a loss of one’s future life (the way it may have been). You may grieve the loss of certain hopes and aspirations that you had for your child with an ASD. You may have feelings of fear, worry, confusion, guilt, embarrassment, resentment, and a sense of loneliness and isolation. You may ﬁnd yourself asking questions such as "Why me? Why did this have to happen to my child? What have I done to deserve this?” Many parents go through something similar to the stages of grief.
Psychologists recommend that you allow yourself to experience your feelings. Holding in feelings can be detrimental to your psychological, emotional, and physical health. Parents can get stuck in one of the stages and need time to process their feelings before moving on. Take your time.
Try and figure out a way for you to express your feelings constructively. Keep a journal, Speak with a close family member or friend. Speak to a counsellor. Make time for you outside your journey with autism. Join a support group for parents of children with ASD. There are wonderful support groups in the community of ASD, both live and online. Contact Autism Support Louth to find out your nearest one or see our Resources section for the Directory of Services.
Parents have incredible strength when it comes to their children who have been diagnosed with ASD. I think this following story sums it up.
“The Mountain,” by Jim Stovall:
- Welcome To The Club – Evolved: by Jess Wilson, Diary of a Mom
- Advice To Parents After An Autism Diagnosis by ASD Dad
- A Letter To Parents Of Children With Autism From An Autistic Adult
- What Now? Ten Tips for Families with a New Autism Diagnosis Squillo for Thinking Person’s Guide To Autism