To the Mom Who Was Right About Your Child’s Autism Diagnosis

Dear Elizabeth,

Well, you were right — it was an autism spectrum diagnosis.

You know what else you were right about? That everything is going to be OK; that this is the first step on a path that is going to good places for your son; and that the struggles he has experienced were neither your fault nor his.

The lightness you feel? That is the weight of guilt and worry off your shoulders.

There is more, too. Once you and your husband figure out what your son, the Navigator, needs, you are going to work as a better team than you ever have.

There will be curveballs. That job you love? You will quit it; you love your son more. Those plans you made? You will put them on hold or even make new ones, some of them better and more fulfilling ones.

Yes, there will be a sense of loss, but really only the sense of loss that comes with the learning curve of taking on new challenges — losing the feeling that you knew what you were doing and the comfort of the rote.

Honestly, though, how was thinking you knew what you were doing really working for you? Not so well. With this re-learning, things will work better.

But not perfectly — don’t expect a diagnosis to solve everything. It won’t. There will still be challenges, difficult ones that will last for years. There will be things you will have to let go of as you accept who he is.

There will be fights you will fight for him — and you will find you will be more able to fight for him than anything you’ve fought for.

You will gain important new perspectives and make friends you have never met. You will broaden your compassion and understanding.

Your life will become rich and full in a way you never dreamed, much different than you ever imagined. For now, take it one day at a time. Things will be a little chaotic until you settle into the new reality.

Be kind to your husband, your son and yourself. Be patient with family who may be confused or dismayed by the diagnosis — they will come around and be supportive.

You will feel like you need to learn everything at once. Do the best you can and follow the school’s lead. They have a lot of knowledge and will guide you as they work with your son.

Because you were right: everything is going to be OK.


Follow this journey on Autism Mom.

The Mighty is asking the following: Write a letter to yourself on the day of the diagnosis. If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

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