Thursday, September 22, 2011

Focus on Autism--From Denial to Devastation to Discovery (Part 2)

 (Click HERE to read Part 1--Denial)

Autism Awareness images
Part 2--Devastation 

dev·as·tate verb \ˈde-və-ˌstāt\

1: to bring to ruin or desolation by violent action 
2: to reduce to chaos, disorder, or helplessness : overwhelm

Shortly after we began the evaluation process through our state's Early Intervention program, I remember a sweet angel of a face tilted upwards, earnestly telling me something important in that sweet jibber jabber I knew so well.  I remember wishing I had a clue-any clue-that would help me unravel the string of thoughts he was trying so hard to put forth.  A relative watched and asked if I thought he would ever talk.

The question shocked me. 

Not talk? 

That had never crossed my mind.

"Of course he will," I said confidently.  All false bravado on the outside, but inside, from my brain to my heart to my very soul, the wall I had so carefully constructed between my sanity and the word AUTISM came tumbling down.   The rocks and bricks etched with denial fell and fell, leaving me bruised and battered. 

And in shock.

My self-created world of safety was obliterated.  I kicked and screamed and fought it like a wild ninja on the inside.  On the outside...I watched his every move.  And I knew.

And I was devastated.


Why?  Why such a heavy burden?  First his heart and now, this.  For nearly three years I had lived thinking his heart would keep him from living a normal* life.  I was so wrong. 

Then came the devastated anger.  You know...that anger that makes you throw things. 

Yeah.  That anger.

I spent the following weeks and months wallowing in devastation.  And truthfully, there are moments now when it washes over me like waves crashing against the beach at high tide, covering all of the beauty that shows in the daylight.  It leaves me gasping, struggling to breathe. 

But only for a moment at a time, and for that I am truly grateful.

We didn't hear the official Autism diagnosis until three months after our initial appointment with Early Intervention.  Once the diagnosis was confirmed, we were able to move from devastation to discovery.   I learned so much in such a short time.  Enough to push for Autism assessments for another son, and to once again hear an Autism diagnosis.  And enough to know how to move from devastation to discovery all over again.

*normal--whatever that is!

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