I have always feared autism. I watched my kids closely. When we hit the second birthday without regression or red flags, I breathed slightly easier. At the third birthday, I let out a huge sigh of relief. We did it. We made it through the first three years. No one suspects autism, no flags are present. I don’t have to face my biggest fear!
But, life with Thing2 was tough. And as he got older, it got harder. Lots of aggression, defiance, tantrums, etc. We saw doctors. Many said it was my fault. I just didn’t know how to be a good parent. But I knew there was something else going on. Finally we found a good doctor who listened. She gave us some medication that has tremendously helped with the aggression. And she referred us to the autism center.
1 in 88 children are diagnosed with autism. Two days ago, Thing2 became that one in 88. He got a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. He is considered high functioning.
Getting the diagnosis was both validating and terrifying. I want to recreate that scene from Pretty Woman where Julia Roberts goes back into the store with her bags. I want to walk up to the doctor we saw 8 months ago, shove the paper with the diagnosis in his face and say, “See! Don’t you wish you had listened to me now? I am not a bad mom who needs to read a book and learn how to parent.” (Yes, he told me that.) So I am feeling validated. I was right. There was something else going on with my son. I am also completely terrified. I am hoping the diagnosis helps us get therapy which helps improve our day to day struggles.
At this point, I have realized it is pointless to hope this is the last of the medical drama I will face alone. Because it probably won’t be. This is our life.