Why I'm Thankful My Parents Pursued My Autism Diagnosis

There are many people who dislike using labels for themselves and others. They may not want to feel like they’re being told to be or not be a certain way. They might dislike the idea of fitting neatly inside the given label. People like to feel free, not held down or confined to a certain way of doing things.

While brushing off labels can be liberating, it can potentially be harmful at times if a person views a diagnosis as a label. There are many conditions, that if left undiagnosed, can leave a person feeling isolated and confused.

As a young child on the autism spectrum, even before I was officially diagnosed, I knew I was different. I didn’t quite fit in with the kids in the special education classrooms, but I didn’t always fit in with kids in mainstream classrooms either. I wasn’t made aware of my diagnosis until right before I started high school, and it didn’t come as a surprise. In fact, it was a big relief! For a long period of time, I actually completely and totally believed that I wasn’t human. I thought I belonged to another species, and I just looked human. I had an extremely negative self view. I believed I was unintelligent and “bad.” I don’t know that being told about my diagnosis would’ve helped at such a young age, however, it was extremely beneficial when I got older.

I’m thankful my parents pursued a diagnosis, even when some professionals brushed off their concerns.

A word of advice from an autistic adult with a learning disability — if you are concerned about you or your child having a specific condition, please seek out a professional! I can’t imagine being successful when I hate myself, am frustrated and alone. An official diagnosis of a particular condition does not mean someone is less than. A diagnosis itself will not hold me back. The point of a diagnosis is to bring understanding and awareness. It is then up to the person and their family as to what they will do with it.

Understanding and loving oneself can be essential for success in adulthood. Knowledge and acceptance by the family members can make the world of difference for a child.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock image by syntika

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Autism Spectrum Disorder

Silhouettes of man, woman, boy and girl on grass in front of city buildings

Will You Accept Us?

Autism acceptance means embracing us for who we are. It doesn’t mean looking for a “cure” or a way to fix us, but rather helping us navigate this world while capitalizing on our strengths. Everyone on earth wants to be accepted, and not to have the notion of having to be changed forced upon them. [...]
little girl peeking over white chair, you can only see her eyes and blond hair

My Daughter Is Not 'Grumpy,' She's Autistic

I couldn’t tell you how many times people have commented my daughter, Beans, has a “grumpy” disposition. I’ve lost track. It feels as if it happens daily, really. But the thing is, she isn’t grumpy – she’s almost 3 years old, she’s a toddler, and she’s also autistic. If you knew she was autistic, you’d know [...]
The author and her friend this year

To My Best Friend Who Accepts Me for Who I Am

Dear Alysia, I’ll be completely honest with you — when we first met back in sixth grade in 2000, I couldn’t stand you. I was used to being the teacher’s pet. With my black or white and literal thinking, I followed rules to a “T.” Although I was a goody-two-shoes, my issue was that I [...]
Woman holding cell phone while outdoors

How Communication Can Be Hard for Me as an Autistic Person

Starting a conversation — it seems so simple, right? If only it were that easy. Communication can be hard for me as an autistic person. Sometimes others interpret me wrong, such as if I look up to the ceiling and do my horse sound (a gentle vibrating exhale), others can interpret it wrong. Once, I [...]