Letters to New Parents of ASD kids: #1 I Believe You

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Dear new parent of a child with autism,

I'd prefer to be sitting across from you at a local coffee shop rather than sitting behind this glowing box tapping away on the keyboard. But this will have to do for now.

First of all, I just want you to know that I believe you! I believe everything you'd tell me about your child.  Things like those unusual behaviors  that when you tell your friends, family, or co-workers, they say:  "My child did that too, and he's fine", "All kids go though that stage." Or:  "Boys develop slower than girls do." , "Boys play different than girls."

I believe that you know your child best, and you know when there is something different.

When Stevie was first showing signs of autism (a little before age 2), all my friends told me that I was over-reacting. "He's too attached to you to have autism." But I knew. I saw the signs. I saw him dancing on his tippy toes and staring at the screw in the wall like it was the most exciting thing to cross his path that day; all the while ignoring all the brightly colored toys and siblings beside him.

I saw him in his crib, wiggling his fingers in front of his eyes, giggling.

I watched the sudden un-awareness of others around him.

I watched his progress in language and speech come to a stop.

I was there when he became afraid of his food.

I watched, helpless, as he went into high-pitched screaming fits where everything and anything would make the fits worse, and he'd scream for hours.  Sometimes up to 4 hours straight. Screams. And I'd sit helpless here behind this glowing box searching for help. For ideas. For anything that would help me be a better mom to him. To help him calm down; stop crying.

I knew this was not normal.

It's so hard to know in the depths of your soul,, and yet be told that it's normal; you are over reacting.  I learned to just nod yes, and leave it at that. I knew. He was my child and I just knew he had it.

Mostly, I knew because my first son also has autism. I had already been through this once before.

So hang in there. God gave you this particular child for a very specific purpose. You are the best parent for him (or her) that there ever will be.

God knew. God knows. God has this whole thing planned out.

So don't give up, ok?  God is here with you. He will help you in your time of need.

Until next time,

Merri

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 thoughts on “Letters to New Parents of ASD kids: #1 I Believe You”

  1. Dear Merri,

    Thank you for this letter! My son was diagnosed with OCD and an anxiety disorder earlier this year. I have known, or had a suspicion, since he was two (he’s now 5) that he fell somewhere along the Autism spectrum. But it has been a challenge getting him the proper specialists and diagnosis. Even now I am trying to get him in with a Neuro-Psych professional, which has proven to be a long and daunting task, to be tested for Asperger’s.

    Through the years I’ve expressed my concerns to everyone and anyone that would listen, but was met with exactly what you said: my kids did, boys are slower, blah, blah, blah. Even after his OCD/anxiety diagnosis I still get met with harsh criticism and skepticism as if I have diagnosed him myself and have something to gain by it.

    The second I read your words, “I believe you,” my whole being swelled with a flood of emotions. The words I have longed to hear from a certain few people but have only ever heard from my son’s pediatrician and his psychologist. I tell myself, “That’s good enough. That’s all that I have to hear it from.” The sad thing is I need to hear it from my family, from my friends to know that I’m not alone; to know that I have support; to know that I’m not making it all up! Because right now I feel very much alone when it comes to figuring all this out.

    Thank you for your words of encouragement! I love your blog! You are an amazing person to take the time to share your stories, your experiences and your wisdom with those of us trying to navigate a still relatively unknown world.

    Many thanks,
    Angela

  2. Angela, I am so glad this letter has helped you! It is so frustrating to not be believed. So many people have to actually video record their kids before they are taken seriously. We had to do that with Stevie and his reading ability (he began to read at age 3, yet they wanted to teach him early word decoding skills…sigh)

    It is so nice to be taken seriously, and be told “I believe you”. And, I do believe you–no one wants to wish anything like this onto their children! I will tell you, that when we first to my oldest son to the pediatrician for the first time, we thought he had OCD as well He was just 2 1/2 years old. Little did we know, that apparently OCD doesn’t typically show up that young, but when they see those traits they *think* ASD. I don’t know if that helps you or not.

    Thank you so much for taking time to write this comment. I am honored to know that these words have helped you!

    Hang in there!
    Merri

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