17 Aug 2015

Your Child Has Autism. So Now What?

Your Child Has Autism. So Now What?

Author: Julie Brusio  /  Categories: Parenting , Julie's Blogs  /  Rate this article:
I will never forget the day Debbie was officially diagnosed with autism. April 28, 2008 was a day fraught with raw emotion – anger, sorrow, and fright. This was before the days of Facebook and before autism was newsworthy – before Jenny McCarthy and Autism Speaks were household names. And even though my gut told me that Deb was on the spectrum, hearing it aloud from teachers and the therapists, who were essentially strangers, cut like a knife. 

“Autism.” “Autism.” “Autism.” “Autism.” Over and over again, each teacher and therapist repeated that word. They were unified in their decision, and no amount of dissent on our part was going to change their mind. I wasn’t so much in denial as I didn’t want to put Debbie into a box and close the lid. The label of “autism” felt stifling and limiting. Knowing in my heart that she had autism, did not keep me from blaming these people for Debbie’s issues. I was angry and I needed to lash out at someone. The teachers and therapists who dared to diagnose my daughter were robbing me of the life I had anticipated. It was their fault that my life was not turning out the way I had planned.  From my bitter perspective, it was their fault that my life was not as “normal” or “perfect” as everyone else’s life seemed to be.

I realize that it was perfectly natural for me to mourn. I was mourning the loss of “normal.” And just like when I lost my mom, I had to go through the stages of grief in order to reach the stage of acceptance. I have finally have reached a point where I no longer feel guilty for feeling anger, sorrow, and fright. I had the right to feel that sense of loss; I am entitled to my feelings. Till this day, sometimes waves of emotion wash over me, just as raw as ever. I don’t tend to stay there very long, however, because I recognize that there are many more things about our life that are positive than are negative. 

If your child is newly diagnosed, you too have the right to feel angry. You have the right to cry, vent, and scream. You have the right to mourn the loss of what might have and what could have been. But you can’t stay there forever. If you start wallowing in your grief you can’t help the people who need your help the most. Go through the emotions and the stages. Feel what you need to feel. Then, when it’s all done, take a really big, deep breath and be ready to move forward. Advocate on behalf of your child. Help your child reach his full potential. Remember, the sky is the limit! 

If you ever want to “talk,” please feel free to reach out to me. You can find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com.ketchupwithasideofautism. I will be glad to listen and help.

  xoxoxo ~ Julie


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Julie Brusio

Julie Brusio Julie Brusio

“Autism is full of ups and downs and because of it I have more patience than I used to and can appreciate the "little" things in life.”

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3 comments on article "Your Child Has Autism. So Now What?"



8/18/2015 11:28 PM

Very encouraging write up for parents of children living with autism & other developmental disabilities .There is strength in these children if we persevere in supporting them .


Mama Chewi

8/19/2015 9:29 AM

Several years after my son was diagnosed, I was wallering in guilt and having a general bad mom day at my office, with my door closed. My boss knocked and came in. She was a more mature lady that had older children that had given her her own share of mom guilt issues. She was also a RN. As I sat there drowning in my tears, she threw me a life line in the form of this nugget "it is ok to grieve for this child. he is not the child you had thought you would have, nor will your life be the life you had intended". it seemed so harsh to me at the time, but I think of that often. No parent every expects to get the news that something isn't right with their perfect baby. Autism is a life altering diagnosis for the family too. I have come to realize it doesn't have to be taken in a negative connotation though. The moment I was real with myself and grieved for the child I had thought I would have was the moment I realized that we all have off days and a life that doesn't copy from the pages of a highly photoshopped magazine. Autism hurts. It can be hard to watch and hard to live. But there are days when I see this special boy smile or fall to the floor in a giggling fit that I know that autism also heals. He is my hero!


Julie Brusio

8/19/2015 12:15 PM

I love this Mama Chewi! A big virtual hug to you and yours!

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