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My Son Is the Same Boy He Was Before His Autism Diagnosis

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When the doctor told me my son has autism, I had no idea what it meant. My mind raced with a million thoughts and questions at once, and I knew I needed to find out everything I could about autism.

Getting useful information about autism was challenging. There was no firsthand information available to me. This was not like my son having the flu and me being able to ask my friends and family for advice based on their personal experiences. In this case, most of the people I knew had never heard about autism, forget knowing anything about it. The few who had didn’t have a clear idea about what it was. The professionals in the field were only so much help, and their knowledge was more academic than personal. The local library and bookstores had little information. There was more information available on the internet, but it still didn’t seem enough. Theoretically, I knew everything there was to know about autism. But practically, I was no closer to understanding what it meant for my son, as an individual, and for us, as a family, than before.

Then, one day, as I was playing with my son, I stopped and looked at him, really looked at him. He had a big smile on his face and was babbling happily and flapping his hands excitedly. In that moment, I realized I didn’t have to look for guidance anywhere other than my son. My son is still the same sweet, sensitive, silly, happy, loving, caring boy he has always been. The autism diagnosis didn’t change that.

We had done a pretty good job of traversing the path of life so far. I already know how to be a parent to him. I need to keep taking my cues from him, love him and care for him like I have since the day he was born.

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Originally published: November 26, 2016
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