The day we got Little Person’s diagnosis, I was a shredded pulp of melted ice cream. I was unsure about what it all meant, guilt ridden for dragging her through all these hoops only to get what? A label that would limit her. A badge to point out all the things she could not do. A future defined by can’t instead of can. It was A Very Bad Thing. And it was all my fault.
And now, a year later, I am glad of the diagnosis. Because it means we can all put our energy into who Little Person is becoming, instead of banging our heads against a glass wall and thinking there is something wrong with us. Without the diagnosis, either she was an uncooperative fearful brat, or we were bad parents. With the diagnosis, we have tweaked things and now we look like a normal family. Some days.
Autism might seem like a big thing, but it’s in the little things that it matters. Parenting autism is a million small moments of remembering that she does not see the world as I see it. And yet her world is no less than mine.
She has shown me a beauty in the world that I would not have seen without her “tricky brain” as we call it. I have watched her grow, and learn, and try, and overcome. I have sat in the corner and cried because people are idiots and this is such hard work. I have worked hard to prepare her for things, fully expecting a meltdown, only to have her sail through. I have been sideswipe by meltdowns so huge it has taken a week to recover.
Little Person has the kind of autism where it doesn’t look like she has autism. It’s exhausting for her and for me. But knowing that this is what we are dealing with means we can make better decisions now for the future.
The autism diagnosis does not make things easy. But I think somehow, it makes things easier. Because at the very least,you get to stop pretending you know what you’re doing.