Autism Awareness Month – An open letter
To the Doctor who diagnosed my daughter
When I look at her I don’t see autism, because this does not define who she is. I see my quirky, boisterous, stubborn, fearless, independent daughter. She has changed my life in more ways than I wish to admit, but looking back now, I would not change a thing.
It’s almost a year ago that we received her diagnosis. When you asked us all those questions, for which we answered, “no”. When you gravely asked us if we knew what autism was. When you advised us to go through our period of mourning, because she is not the daughter we envisioned. Time slowed down and each word you spoke pierced my heart even more. “How dare you? ” I thought. How dare you turn our lives up side down? Your prognosis wasn’t any more encouraging or helpful.
Me: “Will she progress”
You: “I don’t know”
Me: “Will she speak”
You: “I don’t know, get her into therapy ASAP!”
I know that you are probably de-sensitized by all your cases, but this is my baby girl. You know her by the list of questions you asked, nothing more. Did you know that she could count backward from twenty when she was two years old? That she could spell and do basic math at two and a half or that she potty trained herself? But sadly none of this mattered to you.
Today she looked at me, . . . she made eye contact! And with those huge beautiful eyes, she smiled at me. Without saying a word I knew exactly what she was saying, I knew that she was saying “I love you”, I realized then, at that moment that this thing called Autism is not a death sentence nor is it something that we need to be afraid of. Yes, there are challenges, and some days are better than others. But neuro typical kids have challenges too; they have moods and things that tick them of . . .. This is who she is.
So sorry Dr. x I will not mourn that, I will not mourn the child I never had because she is here with me now and we will face the future together, as unknown as it was last year and as unknown as the future is now. What I do know for sure is that I love my little girl more than anything in this world. And I would do anything to protect and keep her happy. I will be her voice and advocate for however long that needs to be.
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