I took Elizabeth to a psychologist at the end of January to be evaluated for autism. She was thirty-one months old. A few weeks later, we got the results of that evaluation. She was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Global Developmental Delay. It was not a surprise because the year that had lead up to that twelve page report was the worst I’d ever experienced as a mom. But even though it wasn’t a surprise, after the initial processing of the diagnoses, I went into a sort of shock. I had all kinds of emotions, from anger and denial to sadness and depression. And I had so many questions. What would our future look like? Would I EVER be free of meltdowns? Would she be happy as she got older? Would I get to travel with my husband as I had always envisioned? It was not a pretty time. But through it all, Elizabeth did fine. She grew and changed. She got better in many areas.
Initially, I had tried following the recommendations of her psychologist and get her into therapies. I found that in-home would be the only option and even IT wasn’t an option. We had some pretty dark days when we tried and failed at therapies. And then I just stopped. We stopped. We began just letting her just be part of our family, letting her learn and play with us at home, just as her siblings have always done. I relaxed about it all as much as I could and for about a month now, I have really felt a calm about the therapy stuff. I no longer feel guilty about it. I am seeing her talk more each week, learn new skills and social behaviors, and I am learning how she responds to situations so that I can apply that understanding to future situations. Essentially, I am her therapist.
I still very much concern myself with the future. I try not to but the planner in me struggles with the unknown. Of course, everything is unknown so this shouldn’t be any different. But it is for some reason. I hope that in time I will feel comfortable with how she is developing and what her/our future will be. She is a beautiful child, very affectionate, curious and playful. I want to see THOSE traits when I look at her, when I look to the future. I don’t want to see rigid, strong-willed, ornery, or stubborn. I don’t know why I sometimes feel like the negatives will rule our future when the positives are so wonderful and prominent. I need peace about these things. I need to place the future in His hands.