“Your child is autistic.”
What? MY child? I don’t understand. You must be mistaken. Things like this happen to other people, not to me and my family. It just... can’t be true.
Any parent who has ever sat in a sterile medical office and heard that sentence has an immediate gut-level reaction. The reaction is unique for each person, but it’s there and it overwhelms you. There are many forms the reaction can take: confusion, denial, anger, fear, heartache, sadness, disbelief, or one of a hundred other labels. Or you might go through ten different emotions before you even regain your ability to speak. One way or another... it takes possession of you.
Then, after you’ve had a minute to become functional again, you’re hit with the second wave. What am I supposed to do now? Is there a guidebook or something? Yes. This is it. I’m not a medical doctor so I will not give you medical advice. I will, however, share information I have learned from the many doctors I have worked with. I am not a Special Education teacher so I will not give you academic study plans. I will, however, share experiences to teach you lessons that I had to learn the hard way. And I am not autistic so I cannot tell you what it feels like to view the world from your child’s perspective. But I can help you learn how to move forward in a world that is not prepared for your child.
There are many things you need to know, and that no one wants to tell you. That is how I knew I needed to write this book. I’m volunteering to be the one who lets all the cats out of the bag. The world is counting on you to remain ignorant of your responsibilities and your child’s rights. You’re much easier to “handle” if you don’t know what your child requires and is legally entitled to. I’m going to help you do the most important work of your life – become your child’s advocate.
This book is not meant to be an in-depth scientific analysis of autism. What I have written is a 30-minute compass to get you out of the gate. This book is your starting point. You have many things to learn, but that will happen over time. My intention is to give you the basic information upon which everything else will be built. As long as you always apply the information contained in these pages, you will always make the right decisions.