What changed when you were diagnosed?

Someone asked me that in an Autism group. Here’s my answer.

Hi. There’s an “AHA!” moment, and a huge mental sigh of relief. For me, at least, there was a sense of peace for the first time in my life, and also a bit of vindication. I had been poked and prodded, put on God only knows the number of psychotropics that never did ANY good. They just made me a fat zombie. I stopped allowing people to get away with calling me crazy or mental. I now had something tangible I could look at in my mind’s eye.

Because my Autism isn’t severe enough to warrant services, the diagnosis didn’t change much except to give me a starting point to research. I had a ground zero that I could begin to find and develop a coping plan for myself. It also explained why my daughter’s behavior seemed perfectly normal to me but abnormal to everyone else. I could explain things to her in a way that no one else seemed to be able to, because I had memories to draw on of what I would feel in her situation, and I knew the words to use that she’d understand.

I knew to play 20 questions with her because she couldn’t just tell me what happened or what was wrong. I knew how to look for the triggers if she got upset because of sensory overload. Hers and mind have some similarities but they aren’t mirrors. See things she can handle that I can’t, and vice versa. I’m sure some of her teachers thought I was completely around the corner when I explained the reasons for some of her reactions in school, but my suggestions always worked to eliminate her triggers. Or at least give her time to gradually acclimate.

It gave me permission to be more confident in BEING her mom, because I knew damn good and well that I wasn’t going to allow her to endure the same pain filled experience I had in school.

It gave me this sense and comfort to finally discover that I’m not the only one dealing with these same challenges. There’s a networking group I’m in and another lady there is also ASD. When we found out, we were both like “Hi Tribe!”


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