Someone recommended me to write a 300-word essay for Autism Companion, an Indy-area magazine for those touched by the disorder. As the parent of (now) two kids on the spectrum, this is what I wrote. If published, I’ll update you.
My daughter, now two and a half years old, was preliminarily diagnosed with Autism yesterday.
As we sat alone with her in the exam room, there were not tears, but rather an odd sense of excitement.
It’s at once in sharp contrast to the diagnosis of her older brother roughly three years ago and directly related to all the progress we’ve made since then.
I can remember sitting in our car in the parking garage at Riley’s downtown location on that May day in 2011, my wife — seven months pregnant with Lauren — and I stifling back sobs while Benjamin sat fairly idly in his car seat.
We didn’t know then what Benjamin’s life could be like or what actions we could take or even how to react, really.
We just had sadness, and probably a bit of unfounded guilt as well.
So, we cried for a while, and then we took a step back and said, “How can we help him?”
We dug into research, we rolled up our sleeves and tried our best to keep focused on that thought: How best can we help?
In the course of that, we settled on ABA therapy, we found a treatment center, we haggled with self-funded insurance plans and all the rest to get our son the help he needed.
All these years later, our son is now a happy, yackety, still-a-little-strange, but ready for mainstreaming little boy.
We’ve been lucky, and, were we more religious, I’d even say blessed, to come this far with Benjamin.
And now we know that it’s time to roll up our sleeves and get to work for Lauren.
Where last we found profound sorrow, this time we find hope and resolve.
And that makes all the difference.