For many families, a diagnosis of autism in a child brings about a profound sense of loss. Since most people don't actively educate themselves about autism before the diagnosis - let's face it, no one thinks it can happen to them - most of what they know comes from what they may see, hear, or read in the media. Unfortunately, the vast majority of stories about autism in the media are about the 'devastation' of autism, of how kids are 'lost' in a strange and terrible world away from society.
As a result, I think that many people who find themselves facing an unexpected diagnosis slip into the 5 stages of grief. The link provides some details on the 5 stages, including some discussion of why some think they are not valid, but here are the 5 stages themselves:
Here are the steps I've come up with.
- Denial - unfortunately, unavoidable
- Confusion - again, unavoidable
- Understanding - the process a parent takes to understand the situation. In this step, will answer the questions that come from the confusion stage.
- Plan - based on understanding gained in previous step, make a plan for your life ahead (something parents do with all kids)
- Act - live life to the fullest, adjusting the plan as your understanding grows.
tagged as: Autism