The dictionary defines acceptance as ‘the process or fact of being received as adequate, valid, or suitable.’
I have an eight-year-old special son and coming to terms with this reality that life has placed upon me was not an easy one. I can’t talk about it as a matter of the past because I still am in the path of 100% acceptance.
The pre-diagnosis story is a familiar one. My child had delayed milestones, regressed when he was two and did everything differently. He was diagnosed with ASD when he was 3.4 years, a late diagnosis because he had some speech.
The autism world didn’t exist for me before the diagnosis and hence needless to say when the diagnosis came, I was devastated; mainly because my dreams I had for my son were crushed and party because I didn’t know anything about this huge monster.I started mourning. I mourned the loss of the person I had expected my son to become. I mourned the loss of the dreams and hopes I had for my son. And I wanted to have it all back so I started looking at my son as someone that needs to be fixed. I wanted to fix him as soon as possible so that he could transition quickly into the normal world and be the normal successful person I wanted him to be.
Now I am at the fifth year anniversary of my son’s diagnosis, and I look back. Last five years have been one of the toughest phases of my life but also the most rewarding. I have never felt so loved; the unconditional love which only my son can give who doesn’t understand the complexities and manipulations of life is unparalleled. I have never felt so aware of the happiness a simple life exudes, the one that was created because I had to simplify life and focus on what is important.
Have my hopes and dreams crushed? No, I have new dreams for my son. The path to acceptance has taught me many lessons.
Acceptance is the realization that his happiness is all that matters and not what he is or will become.
Acceptance is understanding that he might need more time than the others to cope, and giving him that time.
Acceptance is understanding that he sets his pace and let him lead.
Acceptance is not pushing your child to be with typical children so that he learns all things ‘normal’.
Acceptance is thinking from his perspective not mine.
Acceptance is not to impose my expectations on him.
Acceptance is being open to thoughts regarding my child from people who truly care about my child.
Acceptance has no room for pity, for myself or for my child.
Acceptance is celebrating every moment.
Acceptance is not attaching any action as something that needs to be rectified.
Acceptance is knowing that every day will not turn out as you anticipated or predicted and that every day will bring new challenges.
Acceptance is understanding that my life will never be the same as my friend, my co-worker, my neighbor.
Acceptance is focusing on what my child is and not on what he cannot do or will not be able to do.
Acceptance is focusing on the child’s happiness and not the goals I have for my child.
Acceptance is not wishing nor expecting that my child might someday become normal.
Acceptance is truly receiving my child as adequate just the way he is.