The Denver Autism Wheel

So it’s autism

Posted on: July 4, 2010

OK, your child was recently diagnosed with autism. Statistics say it happens once every seven seconds or so. But this time, it isn’t a statistic. This time, it’s your kid. You have been there for everything. You were there when he was born, dried his eyes, wiped his little bottom. And now, a team of doctors comes along and tells you your world just got much more complicated.

What the hell is autism? Who are you people to say my kid isn’t normal? Who are you to say he isn’t perfect? I’ve been here the whole time! How dare you call everything into question?

I hope that sounds familiar because, otherwise, I’m the only crazy one on this page.

Important observation: it’s OK to feel overwhelmed, sad, desperate, and confused initially. Autism is full of unknowns, even among the best and brightest in the medical community. But you’re probably not one of them. You’re a parent. So you start off knowing even less than those guys. Who reads books and research studies about autism unless they have to, right?

So it’s OK to feel overwhelmed. But you can’t stay like that.

No matter what, this is a child—your child—that we’re talking about, and you have to do everything in your power to help your child grow up and be responsible, compassionate and capable. Autism isn’t contagious or fatal (although it can occur together with things like epilepsy which can be). It is definitely not an excuse for laziness, bad or undisciplined behavior. If anything, autism means you and your child will have to work harder and more diligently than most kids who come by typical behaviors organically.

So it’s going to be a lot of hard work, no lie. But the good news is there are a lot of quality people and places that are equipped to help. And we can help you find them.

It’s OK to have a good cry after the diagnosis. So go ahead. Then, dry your eyes, eat a nice meal, and let’s get to work.

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