There are days that change your life. Falling in love, getting married (or god forbid, getting divorced), having a baby, or experiencing the death of a loved one. It’s unfortunate that those days aren’t limited to just good things, but I don’t liken it to life not being fair, rather life balancing itself out.
I woke up today, not really thinking that life would change all that much for me. Even knowing what lay ahead of me. I wasn’t really all that nervous at the start of it. But as the day wore on, I started to get a few flutters. And as we sped down the highway, I felt as if the weight of where we were going, could change my entire life in a matter of seconds.
And as we waited, I began to get nervous. I just wanted to get it over with. Surely, it doesn’t change anything. Things will still be the same.
But there it was, a paper handed to me. I scanned the page, and the words stood out amongst the sea of letters, staring up at me:
ADOS Impression: Autism Spectrum Disorder
Diagnosis: Pervasive Developmental Disorder-NOS.
I’ve toyed with this for such a long time. His teachers went back and forth with me, maybe he is. Maybe he isn’t. He had good days and bad, but the speech, oh the speech. It was one of those things that he’s had so much trouble mastering. He’s got great language, but the speech. I feel like I’ve written about it a hundred times.
I put off getting a diagnosis, partly because we already had services in place and they did so well for him, and did right by our family. But I had to go through a grieving process before I made an appointment. I had to be OK with who he was. Getting a diganosis for us, wasn’t going to change him as a person. It was more for our own knowledge and for closure.
And, as it turns out, it’s not closure, but just the beginning. New doors are suddenly opening for us. Help for him is available that we never would have had without this simple, piece of paper with the words “Autism” and “PDD” on it. It certainly doesn’t change who he is. He’s not a different person, but now, things will be different for him. Things will be better for him. With the right therapy, he’ll have a chance to “outgrow” his disorder and have a chance at “normal” life. But that’s not what this is about. This is about empowerment. We left that office feeling empowered, because not only will he receive the help he needs, but he’ll grow up being aware of his differences, and learn to cope with them. Maybe it’ll be a little easier to figure out his way in this world. It’ll help him understand how to cope with what he was given, and not to let it dictate his life, rather, let him dictate how it’s going to help him go far in life.
Sure, right now, we’re helping him, but really, we’re just along for the ride.