Parenting and Autism: Separating the Diagnosis From My Daughter
Autism has its symbol as a puzzle and aptly so. No understanding of causes or cure and a huge spectrum means there is no one-size-fits-all therapy.
The day my daughter was diagnosed, my perfect world shattered. Simple dreams of having a child perform extracurricular activities are stripped from our mind as the basics are desired. I felt helpless, like I was just handed a broken child, told there is no cure and to get back in the next queue for some services. I had already waited 9 months in a queue just to get evaluated, and was given another appointment 8 months later just to start the process of therapy. I recalled what my sister said to me that day “Remember she is the same beautiful daughter that you took with you to get tested. Love her the same way!” The diagnosis was not her; it was a part of her.
I decided that I needed to take charge. I researched various therapies. I questioned everything! I made it my duty to give my daughter the best possible chance to get the therapies she needed. Knowing that schools have a different agenda since their focus is also on budgets, gave me the knowledge to deal with the IEP and school system. I don’t want my child to survive in school, I want her to thrive. So I give it my all, seeking private therapy as well, even ready at any moment to give up all material objects I know if needed but never sacrifice the therapy she needs. I cannot, and will not; look at the cost of therapy only at what it can offer her. Sacrifices get made daily and lifestyles takes a beating, but I will not look back – I cannot – I am too busy enjoying what the fruits of the labor we have seen so far.
I yearn for my child to run around and play like any other kindergarten child and for me to sit back and relax. That day is not here, yet! Some days it takes my all to drive her and sit in waiting rooms with her little sister, but I do it unthinkingly and very much zombie-like. I have also learned to be her advocate and not let anyone draw boundaries on her limitations. Believing is half the battle and when my little girl looks into my eyes, my heart sings as I see a brighter future.Niri blogs at www.MommyNiri.com where features news, views, reviews and interviews. Read along to learn more about The World according to Mommy Niri. Follow her on twitter @mommyniri.
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