In my last post I was still riding high after celebrating for the first time the World Autism Awareness Day (April 2) but that was just a short break from the not so cheerful days leading up to it and then taking over again. You see, my husband and I have both been sick for the past few weeks, nothing serious, just a persistent nasty little virus that has kept us feeling miserable for way too long. As you all know, when you are feeling sick, you are not exactly a burst of energy and as a parent, use up what little energy you have to make sure your children are okay. Well, when both parents are sick at the same time – especially during Easter vacation in the preschools – it is a recipe for disaster!
Before I go into details in this post I feel it is important to emphasize that I am no expert on the matters of autism but merely a mother whose son has been diagnosed and is likely to get a diagnosis for the other one too. Hence, my writings are but accounts of that experience and how it affects the family. One important aspect of that is how all this affected my husband and I in different ways.
It had been a few days since our older son, JA, had been diagnosed with autism and we’d been online ever since, reading everything we could get a hold on about the condition. At first, the main goal was to methodologically go through everything that had been written about autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as to provide some proof that JA did not really fit within the autistic spectrum. We were still very much in the denial phase, not willing to simply accept the verdict without a fight. But as the research went on, the reading became increasingly mixed with dread. The ice cold suspicion slowly sneaked up on us like a fog that at first seems innocent but abruptly becomes so thick that you can’t find your way out. Could it really be?
We sat there glued to the hospital chairs, staring at the two grave faces looking back at us, not really believing our own ears. “I’m afraid your son is autistic.” I remember the extreme rush of thoughts going through my head at that moment. It was like my brain was working overtime, jumping between colorful images of my dear little boy with his bright blue eyes and vague depressing images of him in the future, sitting somewhere all alone and staring at nothing at all. To me, these drastically contrasting images didn’t make sense. While a part of me knew the truth of what was being said deep down inside, another larger part was screaming with protest. It couldn’t be! Not my happy little boy who was always smiling and giving me his special little hugs while declaring his love for me. I heard my voice slowly asking with a mix of doubt and hope: “Are you sure?” With all the certainty in the world, one pair of grave eyes looked directly at me, followed by a single word: “Yes”.
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