You sit in the doctors office, a blank stare, tears steaming down your face, and glaring at that damn blue diagnosis folder that doesn’t tell you squat about the real world of autism.
They may ask if you have any questions, which in that moment you don’t, because you’re just trying not to fall apart. Then they send you on your way, and that’s it.
Let’s be honest friends, here are ten things they should have told you about an autism diagnosis, that are the honest truth.
1. There are waitlists for EVERYTHING, and sadly there are no favors, bribes, or secret phone numbers to bypass them.
2. You will get comfortable with saying no, you learn what is simply just too hard for you child and that may mean setting boundaries.
3. You’ll celebrate things like your child eating McDonald’s chicken nuggets instead of organic vegetables. And there will be NO judgment if that’s their thing.
4. Sleep struggles are real, and hard! Don’t be afraid to say that, because nothing can wear you down like a no-sleep streak.
5. You’re going to get really comfortable talking about poop, and potty training. The world of autism is no stranger to the struggles of a healthy poop conversation.
6. IEP meetings become one of your most stressful days of the year. No matter how many you’ve been to, they’re still nerve-wrecking.
7. Don’t believe everything you read on the internet, find another “seasoned” autism mom they have the tried and true information.
8. Dropping your child off at therapy or school alone will be one of the hardest things your mama heart has to do. But I promise, you’ll be ok.
9. Not every therapist will be a good fit for your child, and that’s ok. Sometimes it happens, and a change of providers is necessary for progress.
10. This shit is hard. You will cry, you will feel like you failed, and getting up tomorrow to do it again will feel impossible…. but you will, and you will learn you are a rockstar of a mother.
There is so much to learn on this special needs parenting journey, there are extreme highs, and the lowest lows. But all of the things I learned above, were not told to me in the beginning, and none of them were listed in that dreaded blue folder.
This post originally appeared on the author’s blog.