Part 2: Part of the Problem or Part of the Solution?

When we are first on this journey, the pain and confusion of the diagnosis can be overwhelming. It takes time to get your head wrapped around what the presence of AUTISM may mean to your life. It is important to process the reality, exit crisis mode, and get down to the business of making the most of what we DO have. If you are at that initial point, or afraid you are about to be at that point, don’t panic! From the entry side, this may appear to look like a huge crisis, a pivotal moment in time, a catastrophe, or a one-way door, but that’s not true. Once you get through the door and have had time to adjust, you will realize that nothing is really any different today than yesterday, except that someone has put a name on the difficulty you have been facing. If you don’t hear anything else, please get this point: the name didn’t create the reality. The reality existed before it was named in exactly the same way as it exists now.

As distasteful as any label feels at first, realize that this single step of acceptance can open a word of knowledge, advice, best practices, and COMFORT to you. Imagine going into a library and telling the librarian “I need help. Quick!” You would probably be met with a dumbfounded look. But the minute you identify your need specifically, the plethora of information, ideas, solutions, comfort, new avenues, new options become accessible. Plus, you experience the sense of peace that comes from knowing without a doubt where you stand. Without the delineating guidance of the name, it is very complicated and laborious (if not impossible) to locate the solutions that are best suited to you. When you recognize and understand the dynamics of autism, there is so much to hope for a better life, for more freedom, and for greater peace and joy. Yes, there is a grieving process, but grieving really means incorporating new realities that present themselves, and seeking a new understanding of life that includes these new realities. While this can be a very emotional phase for many of us, it is also a natural part of the process. Peace and acceptance exists on the other side of our grief, provided we process through the grief and don’t get stuck in it.