Thursday, April 19, 2012
What is a Diagnosis?
Like several other posters lately, this is my first post here at Hopeful Parents. I want to thank the administrators here for the opportunity to use their blog to share my story and I hope you enjoy reading what I have to say. For today, I just want to give you a chance to see who I am. When I was 14 years old, I had to give an oral presentation to my 9th grade English class about what I wanted to do when I "grew up". We were supposed to select a career and how we planned to go about achieving our goals. Some people chose teachers. Some chose lawyers. I chose to be a pediatrician. You see, I had wanted to be a doctor from as long as I could remember. And I loved working with children (in the form of babysitting) so I figured a pediatrician was the smartest choice for me. Well, I've "grown up" a lot since then (I'm now a 40 year old) and I never became a pediatrician. But I have become a "Mom". That truly was my life's ambition, even when I did want to be a pediatrician. I live in the Washington, DC suburbs with my husband (Dad), 3 children (Big Brother, Ballerina, and Music Man) and a black lab/pitbull mix pup. I chose to be a stay-at-home Mom when my girl/boy twins were about 9 months old when I realized that my 2.5 year old son and 9 month twins needed my full attention, full time. And I never regretted that decision. I believe everything happens for a reason. Things always have a purpose. Not necessarily in the "Divine" sense -- I'm not a religious person. But I do believe that everything does come together. We are always in the right place at the right time with the right people. We may not recognize why this is the case at the moment, but eventually the reason(s) present themselves. When my twins were 26 months old, we were told by a developmental pediatrician they were both "on the spectrum" (official diagnosis came about 6 months later). At that moment, my world came crashing down. All of the dreams I had for my family just simply went up in smoke. I just couldn't believe this was happening. I never, in my wildest dreams, thought that I would ever enter "The Autism World" as it was described to me by someone I know. I started researching and trying to make everything make sense and trying to figure out what to do. That was over 3 years ago. Ballerina and Music Man have made so much progress. We still have our issues -- don't get me wrong. They are both still Autistic and I don't believe that will ever change. But they have learned. And we have learned to address them in ways they understand. We have begun to recognize when situations get to be too much. We've learned to recognize the early signs of an "A-Moment" and can try to placate the situation before things get out of hand (we're not always successful, but we try). The most important thing for any parent of a child with "Special Needs" to remember is very simple. YOU MUST LOVE YOUR CHILD. Your child is the same after a diagnosis as they were before. The only difference is that now you have an important tool to help him/her/them. A diagnosis is simply that -- a tool. It gives you the power. It gives you the opportunity to acquire knowledge and determine the best ways to help your child. A diagnosis doesn't mean that "It's Over"! A diagnosis is NEVER a "Death Sentence"! A diagnosis is just the BEGINNING!!!!
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Ilene is a happily married Stay-At-Home Mom to 3 children and a dog. It sounds like a dream life, right? Well, in some ways it is. She has a 7 year old son and 5 year old girl / boy twins and lives in the Washington, DC suburbs. Still sounds like a dream life, right? Well, both of the twins are autistic. Do you still feel like it's the dream life?
She started blogging (My Family's Experience With Autism) shortly after the twins were diagnosed mainly to get my thoughts organized and as a place to get it all "out". She still uses the blog for that, but also uses it to try and inform others and to help spread awareness about Autism. Basically, it's an outlet. Please enjoy the stories!