Parental responses to the diagnosis of ASD in their child tend to be as varied as individuals themselves. There is one shared emotion. Grief. I am sure there is no need to go into detail about why this would be the case, few people would wish for an Autistic child. The range of grief responses is what I find interesting however. From perusing various internet chat rooms for parents of ASD kids I have come across such a wide variety of reactions. Many parents appear 'stuck' in the grief cycle. Unable to move past this phase and into a more pragmatic minded approach to cope with what life has dealt them. There is a lot of "why me?" about. I suppose my response is why not me and my family? When so many children are diagnosed with serious illness and disabilities each year why would I presume I am entitled to escape that?
Furthermore, I don't see my sons diagnosis as the worst thing that could happen. I know many children have far more difficult to manage symptoms than Harri. And I am fortunate for that. However he does not have a terminal illness. He can go on to lead a joyful life ( I hope) And there are plenty of non ASD people who manage to have sad and unfufilled lives without the excuse of Autism. So I see no reason to dive headfirst into sustained gloom.
Having said that I appreciate how others would be overwhelmed, shocked, and for some time depressed. But for me, the best way to cope is to look forward. To focus on the fascinating little quirks of the ASD mind. To relish Harri's small accomplishments. And celebrate each milestone he achieves as if he has won the 100m sprint at the Olympics.
And on a final note I think as parents we need to be honest about what it is we are often grieving for. I will sign off with an article written by a man who is ASD, Jim Sinclair, titled Don't Mourn For Us. http://www.autreat.com/dont_mourn.html . Enjoy.