An Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis can be overwhelming for parents. 

Personally, I would compare it to having an enormous boulder dropped on my chest. 

At first, there were crushing feelings of guilt and “what did I do wrong?”  

Speaking for myself, there also came a degree of sadness.  
 

My child’s life was going to be hard and he would have too much to carry on his shoulders.  

Anger also was tossed into the roller coaster ride of emotions.  

Once all of these emotions were processed, relived, and processed several more times, they started to give way to something else.  

Acceptance and understanding began to take the place of what I had previously felt.  

My child was still the same intelligent, funny and handsome boy he had always been.  

I finally had found the missing piece to his puzzle in the diagnosis.
 

I have learned a great deal about Autism from reading countless books, online forums and watching documentaries.  

However, I have learned much more from my incredible child.  

All from my son’s beautiful mind, here are some of the wonderful, colorful and intriguing lessons that I have learned:

1. Food has weird textures and chicken nuggets are best dipped in vanilla ice cream.
 

2. Playing outside can be unnerving. It's is not fun for all kids.
 

3. The buzzing of a bee can be deafening.  
 

4. Ladybugs can smell bad.
 

5. Snakes and lizards are miracles of nature and we shouldn’t hurt them.
 

6. Video games are not just for fun; they provide a sense of security and solace from the world.
 

7. There are 440 known species of sharks.  
 

7B. Every single fact about each species.  
 

7C. All of the actors that played in the movie “Jaws.”  
 

7D. Their names, dates of birth and every other movie they acted in, ever.
 

8. Unconditional love and patience work best, even during the hardest times.
 

9. Memorizing facts about earthquakes and 1980’s video games is a fascinating hobby.
 

10. Quirkiness is way cooler than fitting in with the cookie cutter crowd.
 

11. Wearing headphones or earbuds can make a crowded environment feel safe.
 

The list of valuable lessons he has taught me could fill hundreds of pages.  

The greatest one is that a diagnosis doesn’t define him, it’s just a part of him.  

It is nothing to hide from, but something to be embraced.  

I have learned that this is an ongoing journey and there will be many bumps in the road.  

Together, our family will navigate through it.  

We will be always his advocates and we will continuously learn, and teach others how to fit into his world.    

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