It was obvious she was uncomfortable where she sat fidgeting in her chair between the other two specialists. She had been speaking around it for minutes, slowly approaching the topic like a predator circles its prey and I knew by the way she now hesitated that it was time for the verdict. I embraced myself for what was about to be said and did not have to wait for long. “We all agree that V is autistic” she said solemnly followed by a silence. My husband and I gave each other a knowing look and then he said with a sad smile: “Well, we kind of knew that already”. And it was true, we had known ever since our older son got diagnosed almost 7 months ago.
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”.
Read the rest of this entry