I have written previously about how a diagnosis can actually be a relief. People in that situation finally have an answer as to why there are problems, and can begin addressing it. However, not everyone views a diagnosis with a relief. Many dread it, hoping that some other factor is causing problems for their child. And when the dreaded moment comes, when they hear the words, their heart sinks and they feel like their world is coming to an end.
On a side note, I partially blame our hysterical media culture. It plays up how horrible something is for ratings, and creates huge anxiety for people about the disorder. Then, when it finally occurs to them, it feels like the end of the war. Do not give into the drama, do not let fear rule your life.
Understand that the world does not at end at receiving a diagnosis, even a chronic one. Disorders such as Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Intellectual Disability or other persistent disorder may be lifelong challenges, but it does not end the fact that life is good. To many people will come to you with condolences, and be a little gracious to them, but to be honest they are being stupid. Your child has a unique struggle, but it is not as if you lost them.
It is not also as if they do not have a good life ahead of them. We to often want our kids to be normal, with the exception of out performing the pack to gain recognition. But to be truly different? That’s scary. We hate when people look at us, when they think things just based on action. We hate that our child might need to go to a special classroom, or have special instruction. These things invoke fear in us.
That is, perhaps, one of the benefits our kids grace us with in their struggle: we get to learn how to love them and ignore the fear and shame attached to being different. While we previously ran through our live conforming, today we learn to look at life in the most meaningful ways and throw off the shallow ways. When life is relatively problem free and predictable we can focus on the shallow things, but once the fit hits the shan you have to focus on what is really matter.
So perhaps it’s not just that life doesn’t end when your child is diagnosed. Perhaps it’s that you can truly begin living life in a meaningful way.