Voices of Autism: ‘I Was Completely Blindsided’

Every day throughout April–Autism Awareness Month–we will be featuring a different reader-submitted story about living with autism. Today’s story was written by Rachel Rosner, mother of Andrew, 13, and Leah, 9, and author of the blog Autism Maven.

Rosner2Within a few minutes of meeting him, the speech therapist said, “I think he probably has autism.”

“What the hell are you talking about? Aren’t you just a speech therapist?”

“You mean no one has ever mentioned that before?”

“We are just here for a speech evaluation.”

We were meeting with a speech therapist at the suggestion of our pediatrician. The thought had never even entered my mind. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. She came right out with it, as if we knew already and were just waiting for the official word. I don’t remember the rest of our appointment, but I do remember standing in the parking lot with my husband. I had already strapped Andrew in to his carseat.

We hugged and cried, and I knew she was right. I didn’t know the first thing about it, but I somehow knew he had autism.

When my son was diagnosed he was not yet 2 years old. In retrospect, I consider us very lucky. At the time, I was completely blindsided. In that moment in the parking lot, I became an entirely different person.

I became the mom of a child with autism.

I read everything I could get my hands on. I pushed for services and therapies. I became obsessed with the need to know everything there was to know about autism and how it manifested in my child. I started with The Child with Special Needs by Dr. Stanley Greenspan and Serena Weider. Then I moved on to The Difficult Child by Stanley Turecki and The Out of Sync Child by Carol Stock Kranowitz, Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurchinka, and The Explosive Child by Dr. Ross Greene.

He started receiving services almost immediately. The only good thing about being treated so unprofessionally at the start was that we were fast-tracked and had a diagnosis in about a month. And the rest, as they say, is history. My life did not turn out the way I expected, but I would not have it any other way. I am a much better person and a much better mother because my children have autism.

To read previous stories in this series, click here. For instructions on how to submit your story, click here.

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  1. by Alysia

    On April 25, 2011 at 8:52 am

    Rachel – thank you for sharing your story. Many parents are blindsided by the diagnosis (and then some of us, like me, knew in our hearts something was amiss). So glad you were able to get started on services right away. Good luck to you and your beautiful family.

  2. by Autism Maven

    On April 25, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    Alysia,
    Thanks for the kind words. If not for that Blindsides Blessing, my son would not be the amazing kid he is today. I hope our stories can be helpful and supportive to other parents out there.

  3. by Barbara Manatee

    On April 25, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    I’m glad to hear, that despite the rough introduction to the diagnosis, that he got help quickly. I hope he is doing well!!

    I am a teacher for kids with Autism. I’m blogging all month for Autism Awareness.

  4. by Time’s a Wastin’ | Autism Maven

    On May 22, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    [...] in case you live under a rock.  The magazine apologized and made a quick PR recovery, hosting an online blog series during that month.  I jumped on the bandwagon and submitted a post which they published, as I was [...]