Au-mazing Gift: A Journey to Autism Acceptance is an Amazon best seller. Au-mazing Gift provides information is about my personal journey through denial, shame, and guilt, to acceptance, inclusion, and publicly advocating, with a collection of different experiences from both my professional, academic and personal backgrounds.
My Au-Mazing Story
I remember the day that I got the official diagnosis that my son was “autistic” (on the autism spectrum. Even though, I suspected earlier, because I saw the signs with him. As a mama and as a professional in the field, I knew clearly what some of the signs looked like (constant spinning or twirling, lack of eye contact, deep fascination with one topic, delayed speech production). Honestly, I didn’t want it to be true. For years, I didn’t want to say the words “Zachary” and “Autism” in the same sentence, out loud.
As Zachary got ready to go to his next level of preschool, I knew then that it was important to get him tested (for being on the Autism Spectrum) so that he could (start) to get the (early intervention) services he needed. While he was being evaluated, I observed his challenges in staying focused and seated. I also remembered watching the test administrator’s responses to the answers he was giving. I was familiar with these responses because I had given similar tests countless times to other children, as a speech pathologist, but I still had a hard time accepting (and seeing) the responses from “my’ child.
The waiting period for the results was filled with weeks of anxiety. I was a nervous wreck, but I chose to go through this in silence, not allowing too many individuals to know what was going on. I walked around with a smile on the outside but felt like my inside world was crumbling apart. I received the envelope with the test results and the paper inside with the letters boldly written, PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder- Not Otherwise Specified, which is a diagnosis used for children with milder symptoms and behaviors on the Autism Spectrum). I felt everything around me stopped; seeing it in print, made it so real.