Last Updated on February 14, 2012

If you are new to the world of autism, there is help for the uninitiated. Three years ago when I first heard my daughter’s diagnosis of severe autism, I felt as though an elephant dropped from the ceiling and landed on my chest. The packet of out-of-date research papers the doctor’s office handed me were of little help, and I am a speech-language pathologist with experience in working with children with autism. Thankfully, through the hard work of countless families, researchers, and others, the information available to families expands daily.

One great website to visit is Autism Speaks. They even offer a 100-day kit that helps families through the first 100 days after diagnosis.

A mother further down the road from me gave me some valuable advice just after we were diagnosed: Talk openly about it. The more you say it, the more you accept and embrace it. Get counseling if you need to, and do not be afraid to pour out your heart, sadness, fear, anger, and grief to the Lord. At first, the grief can be overwhelming, and many mistakenly believe autism is some sort of punishment or a reflection on your mothering ability. Do not listen to those negative thoughts or words!

As the moms in my support group discussed last night (and we are several years into the journey), autism has been a very, very hard road, but it is one filled with more blessings that anyone on the outside can imagine.

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