I’m going to preface this post by saying that I fully expected the outcome of today, it has been something that I have felt and known for a long time, however that doesn’t mean that it was easy to manage emotionally.
Today was the day that my sweet little girl received her autism diagnosis. We had her developmental pediatrician appointment this morning, an appointment that had been booked for months. We got our morning started without any hassle and made it to the hospital with time to spare. It was the first time that Hayden was able to walk by herself from the car into the building. That’s one of the key aspects I believe of surviving and thriving through the world of disability, is celebrating the little things. Something as mundane as walking, a skill that is taken for granted by most, has been such an incredible milestone for Hayden.
After being checked in, weighed, measured and charted we were ushered to the development room where our pediatric specialist was waiting with her team. One thing that I do admire about certain medical professionals is the positive and accepting way they greet my child. An enthusiastic, sincere hello does go a long way and I have found sets the tone for a more positive appointment. After answering the usual initial questions of every medical appointment we go to, the assessment started. Many more questions were asked and even more notes were written. We covered everything from social developmental skills to repetitive behaviors and just as I knew they would, Hayden has nearly all of the indicators of autism. At the end of the assessment the doctor told us without a doubt that Hayden is autistic. I didn’t have much time to process those words as the doctors assistant was sitting down next to me with a large folder filled with forms, brochures, 100 day checklists…… that always seems to be a consistency in our medical appointments, the vast amount of paperwork manages to follow each one.
About as quickly as the mountain of paperwork was thrust into my hands, it felt as though we were being ushered out of the room. The way I felt leaving that room was much different than when I entered. Upon entering I felt as though I had done all of my homework, had my questions written out and felt an overall sense of confidence. I spent all this time preparing my brain and getting into Mama Bear mode that I didn’t really prepare my heart. I try to tell myself that its OK, its not like its new news, Hayden always has been such an incredible little girl. But I would be lying if I said that it wasn’t gut wrenching to receive the official confirmation and affirmation that my incredible little girl is and always will be challenged. There always has been a little light in the back of my mind, that light that whispers ‘Maybe.’
‘Maybe the doctors are wrong’
‘Maybe she will be the exception’
‘Maybe she might not have seizures’
‘Maybe she will talk’
Before today there was the little light that whispered ‘Maybe she won’t have autism’ and the heartbreak I felt was that light going out.
I know that there will always be that positive light in my mind that will always provide me with the encouragement I need to move forward. Hayden is and will always be my incredible little superhero. I will always be her biggest fan. The biggest thing that we strive for is to just take things one day at a time and to always celebrate the little things. As I watch my incredible little girl smile brightly and spin in circles to her favorite tune of Peppa Pig, I know in my heart that she today is happy and thats all that matters in this moment.