As Greyson continues to bulldoze his way into middle school, it becomes ever more apparent that he needs to know who he is. He needs to be okay with it. Accept it. Hopefully, even love it.
At minimum, he needs to know, so he can at least try.
Of course, I’m talking about him knowing that he is autistic. Or is it, having Autism? 🤔. Guess moving forward, that will be for him to decide.
We sat down as a family on March 29th, at 4:43pm to dig deeper with G about his diagnosis. It was pretty heavy, and a little shocking. But before I get to that, I want to let my thoughts ramble for a bit.
Most of you that know me, know that I’m primarily anti-diagnosis, in general. I don’t think we NEED to know. Because even when we do, do we? Can diagnoses change? Be incorrect? Harmful? Or are they only helpful?
I think for me, the answer will always come down to anything is possible. So make sure to do what you think is best for you and those you love. There is no wrong answer here.
Ironically though, here I am, talking about his DIAGNOSIS. One that states that he, is Autistic. A piece of paper that is what? Supposed to explain his problem? His deficiencies? Who he can be? Who he can’t? Place him in a box? At the age of 3? Now 10? Blah, blah, blah. What could this do to his confidence? Maybe he will believe he CAN’T do things because of it. Maybe he will turn inwards and start blocking people out. What if he imagines that he is broken? All because now he has a stupid label, just because why? Because he’s different?!?! Because he doesn’t get all the dumb ass nuances of our dumb ass language? Because he doesn’t know what’s cool? What’s popping? What’s fact or cap?
The above is a microscopic reason why Autism can feel a bit scarier on the inside of your home, than the outside. (And we haven’t even ventured into how this diagnosis and his peers could potentially derail his happiness.)
Clearly, I understand that a diagnosis can give you focus, purpose, intent, and of course a more accurate action plan. I mean, we went and got one, didn’t we?! That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its pitfalls…
Now, we have two kids and I can assure you that Greyson is autistic. The differences between his brother and him are ASTOUNDING! Hot and cold, wet and dry, fast and slow, ☯️ . Of course they have massively different personality traits (as most 1st and 2nd kids seem to). I’m referencing more of their abilities to either just know stuff, or learn stuff. Their differences are kind of like everyone on the spectrum, you know… quite different. 😉
Okay okay, back to our family sit down.
Erin and I began to talk about autism by and large. We picked his brain on it. What he thought. What he noticed. What it meant.
G noticed kids who he believed had it. He absolutely thought they were different. He liked them all, said they were nice. He even suggested that he would help them if they ever needed it. He had such compassion for them, these kids who are different.
It’s right then we both knew, he didn’t have a clue. Zilcho. Nada. Nothing.
We proceeded to discuss the unique group of people he had in his life. The fact his schedule is different than his peers. Asked if his friends stimmed the way he did.
He was still confused, and completely unaware of where this was heading. Perhaps we should have taken a break, regrouped in a week or so.
As always though, we have always known the strength that he possesses. This is something we know he is ready to handle, process, work through.
So, we said it.
“…because you, have Autism.”
It took 10+ years, dozens of amazing people, countless tears, and a colossal amount of hard work to get to a point where we believe that he is ready for this message.
It took 4 minutes to deliver that message.
It only took 7 seconds for it to crush him.
7 seconds before his innocent little eyes began pouring out tears of shame, confusion, and discomfort. It took 7 seconds for him to place his head in his hands because now the weight of this newfound disability was too much for his neck to bear.
There isn’t much we can say after that. We continued to talk, and we continue to do anything we can to help him understand the complexity of his circumstances.
Our oldest son Greyson James is Autistic, and now he knows it.
He is still the hardest worker I know, and believe he will conquer this mountain like he has the ones before it.
Interestingly enough, do you know why I believe he has the strength to overcome?
Because our boy, is DIFFERENT.
And we love.
We will continue to evaluate who we are as his parents, and make sure that he always has the best chance to be whoever HE wants to be.