A year ago, the Dude was diagnosed with autism.
Not every therapist and doctor we have worked with has agreed that this was the exact fit for him, but they all agreed that it was the diagnosis that was universally accepted and would get him the attention he needs no matter where we lived. I've had multiple counselors tell me they didn't think autism was the right fit because the other people in his school with autism had much more difficult symptoms, and they don't want him to be slapped with a label. A stigma.
I'm not saying that to belittle the well meaning counselors who have said it. I'm saying that if I didn't get this label for him, he'd instead have other labels. Clumsy. Obsessed. Emotionally supercharged.
We have been blessed by amazing angels and therapists to guide us from 18 months on. As much as I wanted to ignore it - and I REALLY wanted to - I couldn't. I believe in God for many reasons, but one of the biggest is that He has shown time and time again that He LOVES the Dude and has made sure he has had the very best chance to be his best.
Sometime I think his biggest challenge is his sweet heart. He feels things more than anyone I've ever known. His joy, sadness, and everything in between are so powerful, I don't know how he he has strength to do anything other than just sit around and feel. EVERYTHING. And right now, with this move and the death of his grandma, his feelings are powerfully difficult to manage. I'm so grateful he can articulate what he is feeling, but the weight of them are so great, I'm amazed at how he can function at all.
|I don't know if you can see it, but this was the happiest, most excited moment of any human thatI have ever witnessed right here. He was shaking - I literally thought he was going to explode.|
I would have. But I never got the chance. And I'm grateful for that.
I'm writing this for anyone out there who might have a triangle-shaped child who is struggling to be pushed into a square hole. It's okay. Ignoring it and hoping it will get better will only hurt them. I'm saying that because I have been blessed to be dragged into accepting all of this for years, but I know that if I hadn't been blessed by so many strong and wise voices, I would have tried to sweep it under the rug. I'm an ostrich at heart (so many metaphors... ) Embracing it and then running with it helps them, and it helps you. Miracles abound.
Years ago, one of my favorite bloggers in the history of ever posted about her son's diagnosis, and it stuck with me. Like superglue. You should go read it here. And then just read her entire blog top to bottom because it's that awesome. I've gone back to that post time and time again, sometimes just to read the last sentence:
We have autism. And everything is going to be okay.