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My Child Was Diagnosed With Autism Today -- and We Had a Party

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When our son was diagnosed with autism, we ordered delivery and celebrated with a family party, just the three of us! We had pizza, a dance party and just praised and loved our child.

Over the last couple of months our child, who is going to turn 9 this summer, had yet another set of several evaluations with the local school district. This was his sixth evaluation over the last many years, between school and private evaluations. My son doesn’t care for them; who would? He says he feels like a monkey on stage. Wow! That is powerful coming from a child with limited verbal skills.

A child with apraxia of speech often has other conditions as well. My child has several.
We heard a new diagnosis this last week, but it was not new to our momma and daddy minds, and it did not shock us like many times in the past. You see, we have been advocating for him and holding our ground since he was 3 years old — like many of us do for our kids the minute we sense something is different.

We knew when our star was in his younger years, even before there was an apraxia of speech diagnosis, that there was a uniqueness about him. We knew we had a brilliant, beautiful, loving and capable son who is going to do big things in the world, and a diagnosis will not stop him.

His newest official diagnosis is, drumroll please… autism. Y’all, autism! I have been preparing for this for over five years. We have known since birth; we really suspected at around 2 and a half years old that our son has autism.

I heard those words last week officially. Of course, when you are sitting in a MET/IEP meeting, or zooming with the team, you may want to break down, cry and feel like your child’s future is now at a standstill or set back because of a word, label or diagnosis. Then you may want to get angry at them because they just laid out information to you about your child and it hits you in the gut. All of that happened to me. But suddenly, I thought, why am I getting all emotional and having my son’s future race through my head?

I quickly stopped letting the tears form, stopped speaking, and just stayed quiet for what felt like 15 minutes, but I’m sure it was only one minute. Then what went through my mind is: So many doors just opened for my kid. He can receive so many amazing services and supports across his world now. Yes, he has a label for a lifetime, but it brings great opportunities.

My son has always had autism. We have always known. Follow your heart, moms and dads, always. Promise me that! The evaluator was extremely knowledgeable, professional, and went over and beyond to help see my son in his world. It appeared she saw him for him, and not just a name and ID number on a piece of paper requesting an evaluation.

How will the diagnosis affect us? Well, it will and it won’t. It will bring and open many therapeutic opportunities he wasn’t allowed before. In his schooling, the supports he desperately needs in place won’t require a fight and a battle. Wait, who am I kidding, there may be a battle. We will deal with that then.

Honestly, we have to learn some things about autism. Like, all things autism. I know my son’s autism and how it affects his life journey every day. I know how it affects our daily living in and out of our home. I know how we have been accommodating his needs since birth and we will continue doing that, and continue to open doors for my son.

So yes, this is scary, but also exciting, fresh and new. We are still celebrating! This will not knock us down! So, moms and dads, caregivers, professionals, celebrate these times with your child and try to shift your thinking. What doors will open because of this new diagnosis? It’s never about a label, it’s about supporting their abilities. So yes, we celebrated all of this with a pizza and dance party!

This story originally appeared on The Real Apraxia Life.

Originally published: April 30, 2021
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