May you look past your pain to the wisdom that lies just behind it.

When you first hear those words, “Your child has Autism.” terror runs through you. You are numb and dumbfounded.  Then you begin to notice nausea and trembling have taken over. The full impact of what is going on has not hit yet.  As the dust begins to settle; however, you realize that you are grieving. 

There is no time to grieve! There is too much to be done! There are doctor appointments, early intervention, Autism research, other children, dinner to make, laundry, etc… I can’t believe you actually are making time to read this post! 

Yet when you least expect it, like a sneak attack out of nowhere the grief comes back and grabs you.  Stopped cold in your tracks, sobbing, feeling decimated wondering where your baby went!  There it goes again! A flashback of the life you thought he or she was going to have, laid out in front of you.  There is your child playing football, basketball, soccer, tennis, winning the big game, or playing an instrument in the band, singing in the choir, art lessons, having friends, a first kiss, going off to college, having a wedding, having children of their own, here it is playing out in front of you like a movie.  You don’t want to look it is too painful, but you just can’t help yourself. You reach out to grab it to hold onto it one more second and whoosh it’s gone it slipped right through your fingers.  What are you left with? A shell of the hopeful dream you once had. Don’t worry help is on the way.  To quote Tom Cruise in the movie Jerry McGuire, “Help me help you”.

All you can do right now is grieve the death of the child that you thought you were going to have. As gut wrenching as it is, that is exactly what you should be doing.   

According to ‘The Social Readjustment Rating Scale’ Thomas H. Holmes and Richard Rahe, “Death of a Family Member” is number 5 on a scale of 43 items.  Even though there was no physical death in getting the ASD diagnosis there is a HUGE emotional death that families have to come to terms with. The expectation of the life they were anticipating has changed.  It is important to acknowledge this over time. Moving on can take a while.

Items 1 through 4 on the Holmes and Rahe scale of seemingly higher levels of readjustment are:

1.  Death of a spouse

2.  Divorce

3.  Marital Separation

4.  Jail term

Personally, I feel that items one through five are equally stressful. I am pointing this out because after parents receive the ASD diagnosis the internal stress is present at that level; however, the level of recognition from the external environment (parents, friends, co-workers and family) is not regarded in the same context. What needs to be communicated to people around us, is that what the ASD community is feeling mimics these other traumatic life events.  I hope this explanation brings new patience and understanding to what ASD families may be going through.

I am inviting parents to grieve and take ten minutes to give themselves permission to feel what they are feeling:

·     If you are sad, try to feel sadder

·     If you are angry, focus on that anger

·     If you need a day off to re group, take it

Once you can work through and process your emotions to a certain level you can begin to develop a new dream for your child.  A little kindness and compassion to yourself and your child with ASD will go a long way! Stay tuned for the next steps in this series.

*If you are feeling harm to self or others or need personalized attention please seek counseling or other emergency assistance.

 


Comments

10/07/2012 9:04pm

Great post!

Reply
08/21/2017 2:27am

I believe that giving people the right for grievance is right. If a certain person feels that she needs to feel and embrace the pain she's feeling at the moment, just let her be and give her the time she needs. It's right that you are allot some time to other to feel the pain, I think that's healthy because you let people let go of the hardships they are feeling. Thank you for this wonderful post. I love reading your article!

Reply
10/02/2016 1:35am

Every child is playing the different game according to your interest. Many children are join the basketball, cricket, and football and hockey club for training and become a professional player.


Reply
10/22/2016 12:01am

poster

Reply

Do you think that grief can be good? Hmm, probably. But I doubt it.

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