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The first time a doctor diagnosed one of my children with autism, the word hit me like a truck. It felt heavy. I felt scared. It felt limiting. I felt powerless. The word, “autism,” came with numerous preconceived notions I developed from media and none of my own research or experience. My head spun with questions, fears and doubts. The future was uncertain. What I didn’t realize then is an empowering truth that I now hold dear: our children are limitless.
Autism is a lifelong diagnosis. Its longevity overwhelmed me in the beginning. My children would face challenges throughout their lifetime that I couldn’t begin to imagine in that moment.
The thing is, our children learn and grow. They are resilient like neurotypical children. We learn and grow, too. What seemed scary and heavy at the time of diagnosis no longer seems limiting two years later.
We find support systems that guide our children through transitions and provide them with skills to relate to the world. Those support systems sustain us through phases when we question our ability as parents of children with special needs.
If you hear someone tell you that your child may never do this or that, do not discount your child’s ability. No one really knows what he or she is capable of accomplishing. Their brains are extraordinary, complex, and ever-evolving.
Even if your child never speaks, they may communicate with you through assistive devices.
Even if your child doesn’t have the ability to communicate emotions, they may speak with you through behavior or scripted lines.
Even if your child has explosive behavior, you both may find methods to improve the situation and achieve more moments of calm.
Even if your child’s anxiety never improves, you may both find resources to cope with it.
Our children’s abilities should never be discounted. Their capacities for love and emotion should never be questioned. Our children are limitless.