As a father, I get a lot of moms asking me about denial when it comes to their child with Autism. It’s because most of the time, if a person is going to be in denial over their child’s diagnosis, it will be the father. Now, this isn’t 100% of the time obviously, but generally speaking, men do not want to hear that their child “is retarded”… I know, that’s harsh but that truly is what goes through their mind when they hear the diagnosis.
It’s amazing that we’ve come such a long way from our barbarian ancestors and yet many of us still can’t accept that there may be flaws in our offspring… that they aren’t perfect.
It’s not as crazy as them wanting to cast them off a cliff for being imperfect, it’s just that they don’t want to admit that their child has a disorder, they just keep telling themselves that their child is just taking longer to develop.. they’re just struggling… they’re just not ready… they’re fine.
Now, I can’t emphasize this enough so I’m going to repeat it several times… the worst thing you can do for your child is nothing! If your child has Autism, doing nothing means putting off their road to recovery. If your child does not have Autism, what harm did it have in helping them learn to talk or walk or socialize?? What harm is there in finding out more information??
For each and every single day that you put off a doctor’s visit, a therapy session, a chance to read up on some material or a chance to talk to an expert, you are putting off your child’s entire future… and you’re not just putting off their future by a day, you may be putting it off completely.
That one day of extra work could have made the difference between a communicative adult with Autism in the world and a communicative adult with Autism still living with you at home. Think that’s extreme? It is. And it’s the grim reality of it… every single day, every single moment… makes a difference.
It’s true that early diagnosis is key to treating Autism, but it’s just the key. You have to use that key, open the door and go through it and until you do, the diagnosis was for nothing.
Being in denial about it, refusing to believe, refusing to accept… you’re shutting the door on your child and on your child’s future and for what?? You’re pride? Will you feel good about it in 30 years when your child still doesn’t talk? hmm… that sounds extreme too, but again, it’s the grim reality of it. It’s the risk you take when you say no. It’s the risk you take on behalf of your child when you do nothing because again, the worst thing you can do for your child is nothing.
In fact, most often times when a father (or either parent) is faced with an Autism diagnosis that they are denial with, they actually spend even less time with their child than they would have if they hadn’t gotten the diagnosis when in reality they need more attention. They need your help, your love, your guidance. And if you are not there to give it, you haven’t helped, you’ve condemned.
I’m not here to make you feel guilty if you refuse to believe your child isn’t perfect, I’m here to help protect you from the guilt you’ll feel later when you finally do realize that if only you had acted sooner… your child would have been so much better off. You can’t go back, you can’t erase the guilt.
All you had to do was act. All you had to do was be there. The worst thing you could have done was nothing.