Thursday, August 26, 2010

How I Feel Today

I'm feeling a lot of things right now. I thought I was prepared and that diagnosis would be a relief, but it wasn't. I thought that I had accepted that my son had autism, and everything that entails, but I think I felt like he was still going to be able to lead a mostly typical life. I was certain that he would eventually learn to talk, and read and that he might have some trouble making friends, but he would manage to have a few, that eventually he would meet a girl and fall in love and start his own family.

Now I'm questioning all that. I question whether we're strong enough to be the kind of parents a child like Joseph will need to thrive. What if he can never be independent? We had wanted to have another child if we managed to get on stable financial footing. But now, even if we could afford it I would be afraid to.

I had behavior problems when I was young, and as an adult I've been struggling with depression, inherited from my father. Now our daughter is having behavior problems at school, and I'm afraid that my kids are doomed to the same depression that has been growing in me since I was 20. I feel like I'm broken, and because of that my kids are broken too, and that makes me feel terrible, both for thinking it in the first place and because it could be true.

I'm also questioning my own observations of Joseph. Yesterday, we told the psychologist that Joseph doesn't nod or shake his head to indicate yes or no, but today I think I saw him nod to indicate yes when we asked him if he wanted something. I don't feel like we're objective enough to answer the questions they ask us when trying to diagnose him.

I think most of all, I'm upset that they stopped the autism screening and diagnosed him, seemingly solely from the ADI-R, without the observation portion of the evaluation. I don't know what the other folks who were trying to administer the IQ test observed, or what their qualifications are. I don't know how much his behavior during the IQ test effected Dr. Lecavalier's diagnosis. In fairness, we didn't bring any of tis up when they asked if we had any questions, but we were in shock from being told that he thought our son could be mentally retarded.

I need to remember that he's the same mostly-happy little boy he was yesterday. I need to try to focus, figure out what I can do to help him and make that my top priority.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

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