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Diagnosis: Autism…My personal 9/11 September 12, 2008

Posted by hopeauthority in Autism, Children, Family, Health, Parenting.
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Yesterday was the anniversary of 9/11. People all over the world mourned the sudden and senseless loss of so many American lives. It’s always particularly sad here in New York on this day as we all remember exactly where we were at the time we heard, and how we all sat glued to our TVs and radios in utter disbelief.

I was pregnant with my son and working that morning at an infertility practice. Many of our patients and their husbands worked in Manhattan and were catching trains in to the city after early morning bloodwork and tests. We were frantic to find out if they were ok.

I won’t even pretend to understand what pain and grief those poor victims and their families went–and continue to go–through. And I am by no means saying that the grief in receiving a diagnosis of autism for your child is on the level of that suffered by the loss of life of a loved one.  Just so that’s clear.

But as I was thinking about 9/11 yesterday, I realized that some of the emotions I felt that day were similar to the ones I felt on the day of my son’s autism diagnosis… How this cruel and unforseen fate had befallen my family. The fear and shock and disbelief. The loss of hope. The complete loss of my sense of security and the feeling that I could not protect my child. The fear of the future.

And then, in the weeks and months that followed, the American spirit emerged.  It emerged in our country after 9/11. It emerged in my husband and me after the diagnosis.  And then fight began.

I see parents of children with autism fighting for their children every day. They fight their individual fights, and they are joining together in a bigger fight to defeat this common enemy. And just as it comforted me in the days after 9/11 to see the whole country come together, it comforts me now to see the autism community (although divided on some issues) actually becoming a community. 

So thinking back to that fateful day will always be hard. It’s painful to go back to those raw emotions. There will never be a complete sense of security as our world has been changed.

But hope has returned.

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