When you tell someone your child has autism, the reaction can sometimes make things awkward. The response might be, “Oh yeah, my sister’s best friend’s little sister does, too.” Or it might include a story about autism that is full of stereotypes. Or my even less preferred reaction, a look of profound anxiety with no clue what to say.
The best response I ever received after telling someone my son was on the spectrum was from my mom. I called her as soon as we heard his diagnosis and was still coming to terms with it. She said, “I’m sorry you’re upset, but I’m not sorry he has autism.” There was nothing more comforting than to know someone accepted my child for exactly who he is. Honestly, we always knew he had quirks, and that is a large part of why we love him so much. Why should she be sorry because we had a reason for all those quirks now?
It’s been two months since my son received his diagnosis and I finally understood my son is still my son. Receiving confirmation of something we had long suspected did not change who he is or who he will become.
If I tell you my son is autistic, you don’t need to overshare or be anxious. I am OK, my son is OK, and if I share my son’s diagnosis with you, all you need to say is, “OK.”
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