It's a all too common feeling. The waiting and the preparing the night before something big will happen. Packing before your big vacation, picking out clothes the night before your new job, putting out cookies for Santa on Christmas eve. How do you prepare to find out if your child is autistic? How do you resolve the hope and the dread?
It not something you can discuss easily with friends. Especially friends who are parents because no one can resist the urge to try to be reassuring and solve what they perceive as a problem. And there must be a problem, right? otherwise why would we have gone through the evaluations, the drs appointments, the occupational therapy. It's hard not no think of autism as a problem needing solving, but I honestly don't. It's not a problem. It just.... IS.
Here's how I see it: nothing can change how awesome my child is. He is funny and passionate. Imaginative and unusual. And so, SO smart. Nothing changes that. Nothing we can be told tomorrow changes who his is today, labels don't have that kind of power. But what it can do is change who he will be. That's where the hope and the dread really start to battle it out. The double edged sword of diagnosis and labeling. Opening of doors and slamming of others. The labels can bring assistance that could be so beneficial to helping my amazing preschooler thrive in school and later life, and labels can get him left out of sleep-overs and group activities.
And maybe the scariest thing of all is no answer, more evaluations, more waiting, more preparing.