Wanna Know What Your Child’s Autism Diagnosis Will Look Like in the Future?

If crystal balls were real, would you use one to learn what your child’s autism diagnosis will look like in the future? I’m talking about right after you receive the diagnosis, those first few hours, weeks and months when it’s all new to you.  I certainly would have used one. When my son was diagnosed with autism, I wanted so desperately to know what the future held for him. I wanted to know what school would look like, which school, would he be able to speak, be toilet trained, sleep through the night, have friends and….? I really wanted to know what my child’s autism diagnosis would look like in the future.

     So I did what most parents in my place have done. I did a lot of research and talked to his paediatrician. Since my son had a lot of fine motor and gross motor delays, one of the paediatrician’s recommendations was to have him assessed by an occupational therapist (OT). Our first appointment was just after my return from a parent training workshop in Buffalo NY, where I had met a group of incredible OTs. I was excited.

     It turned out that this particular OT DID have a crystal ball and even though my son was only 2 years old, she knew exactly how his autism diagnosis would evolve.  In the end, our appointment was all about that crustal ball, we never got to the actual OT assessments.  At the time, I really didn’t know much about autism so the OT wanted to manage my expectations of what was possible. She told me that she would do what she could but I should not expect miracles.  Through her “crystal ball”, she told me that my son would probably never learn to speak, would never tell me that he loved me, wouldn’t get a job and definitely not expect him to get married and have a family. I should not expect him to hug me, at the time, my son was hypersensitive to touch and could not tolerate being hugged. She told me a lot more  about how my son would never be “normal” that you can read about  here in my recent article on The Mighty.

It turned out that I neither needed nor wanted a crystal ball or expert to tell me about my son’s future. Why she droned on about the pitiful, miserable and hopeless future that awaited my son, I grabbed him and escaped as fast as one can with an uncooperative toddler on one shoulder and a diaper bag on another. 

     Many moons have passed since that appointment. What I have learned  is that if you really want to know what your child’s autism will  mean for their future, you have to sit down and map out that future.  You have to decide to give them every opportunity available to live their best life possible. Then you roll up your sleeves and work very hard for it, for man, many years.  One day, you will lift your head and realize that your child is actually living that future! The one you decided to give them. There is no crystal ball.

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