Wednesday, April 02, 2008

My child has autism, what do I do?

I posted a note about my autism blog on a few Yahoo groups last night. This morning I had 3 e-mails from families that just found out one of their kids has a form of autism. If I could hug you I would. I know how hard and sad it is. It took us 6 years to find out Jessica had autism. She began speaking when she was 6 months old. She lost her speech and many other skills at 18 months of age. We sought help. Know one gave us a straight answer. We went from specialist to specialist. It took 6 years to finally hear the words autism. They say that it is so important to receive early intervention. We lost many important years. Unless God heals Jessica (and I do believe in healing) Jessica will never recover from Autism. But your child is young. Your child does not need to wait. Start by reading Jaquelyn McCandles: Children with starving brains. Find a DAN Dr. Also, get your child into an early educational program.
People are seeing their children recover from autism. Not every child can or will recover. Girls don't seem to recover as well as boys. Every child benefits from intervention. Autism is a sickness. It has very real symptoms that can be treated. I don't fight autism, but the symptoms of autism. The sleeping problems, the digestive problems. These are the things I can actually do something about. I can not make Jessica better, as in "normal". I can however help her become healthier. When she is healthier, she can manage stuff better.
One final thought. If your child has a form of autism you are going to feel the loss. You lost the “perfect”, “normal” child we all hope to have. The future (both your Childs future and your own…because this will effect you) seems uncertain. Realize you lost that perfect child, but you still have a child. They maybe a stranger but they live. They have worth. They have value. They will march to a totally different drummer, and you will find in yourself strength you never knew you had. Do not lose yourself in the process. Don’t lose your marriage (I write this because 85 % of all couples with an autistic child end up divorced). Treatment for autism can be an emotional roller coaster of hopes and disappointments. Do what you can for your child, but realize even the very best parents have no control over how one child responds to treatment. Some respond, others do not. Let go of your expectations…Just love your child and try to help them get healthier. If you are a person who can learn to value what is in front of you, and not mourn for what you may never have you will inspire the world. You will also be happy. If you fall into the mud, and never get up…you will lose more then your child. You are not alone. Unfortunately millions of families around the world deal with autism. We all feel the loss because our child is sick. Some of us learn to fight, and we also achieve extraordinary things because we learned to rise to this challenge. Learn to love your child right now…where they are and how they are. Work very hard, and do not worry about where you will be in 5 years or even 6 months. Don’t compare your child to anyone else. Learn to love them.

1 comment:

Meg said...

This is a beautiful post- so heartfelt and hopeful. I am curious, you mentioned in one of your earlier posts that you noticed a difference in Jessica after a bout of 5 shots.....did you handle the immunizations of your other children differently? I'd be interested in learning what our choices are and your thoughts on how to schedule vaccinations.
Thank you