Accepting the Diagnosis of Autism

Written By: The Green Crunchy Mother

boy in green shirt holding red paper heart cutout on brown table

Receiving an autism diagnosis can seem overwhelming and frightening. I remember very well how I felt when my own children were diagnosed with autism. I felt lost, confused, alone, and very scared.

You may be left with a lot of unanswered questions about an autism diagnosis. I know I was. You might also be thinking the diagnosis is wrong. This cannot be happening to your child. There are many different feelings and emotions that surround a diagnosis of autism.

Here are some of the ways you might be feeling, and ways to come to terms with the diagnosis.

Denial

woman hugging boy on her lap

Denial is a common feeling when dealing with any medical problem. Sometimes it is easier to deny that there is even a problem. Some parents do not want to consider that there could be something wrong with their child. So they pretend like there is nothing wrong.

Parents could also be thinking, the doctor made a mistake, their child is perfectly normal. Being in denial about the diagnosis will not change anything. The sooner that you accept that your child has autism, the better both of you will be. This condition will not go away if you ignore it. Accepting the diagnosis and moving on will be a huge step for you as a parent to take. The quicker this is done the sooner you can start looking into treatment options.

When I was living this new diagnosis several years ago with my own children, I consulted with a psychologist to assist me with the strong emotions that come along with an autism diagnosis.

Anger

woman closing her eye while holding chain link fence outdoors

Anger is one of the strongest emotions you might feel when you get a diagnosis of autism. You might be angry with yourself, and question why is your child autistic. You might be angry with other parents that have healthy children. This is a very common feeling to experience. Remember, while you are feeling angry to think of all the great things about your child. Share your feelings with others. Keeping anger bottled up can produce many negative emotions.

Grief

person crying beside bed

Sometimes, when a parent receives an autism diagnosis, they go though a grieving process. They are sad that their child has something wrong with them. They may be feeling devastated that the dreams they had for their child may have to change.

They might also be grieving over the way the world may treat their child, and the hardships they might face. Grief is a normal emotion to go through. The key is to get through the grief, and move on to the acceptance phase. It is strongly recommended to get professional help to assist with this process.

In my opinion, try not to look at the things that seem wrong. There will have to be some adjustments made to your plans for your child’s future. That is what life is all about , change. If you find yourself unable to move past the grieving stage you might need to talk to someone. It might help having a few therapy sessions to help cope with the feelings you are experiencing.

Acceptance

two man laughing at each other

Finally coming to terms with an autism diagnosis of autism can take some time. Most parents are just glad to have an answer to what is wrong with their child. Others have a hard time accepting their child is different from other kids. These emotions are both common and normal.

Eventually you will accept that your child is different, and that is okay. Once you have accepted the diagnosis of autism you can start to help your child. Do all the research you can on autism, this is where your power is as a parent. Think about how hard it must be for your child. They need you to be behind them in their treatments one hundred percent. The first step to doing this is acceptance.

How did an autism diagnosis make you feel? How did you cope?

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