The day we got the diagnosis of Autism, my husband was heartsick. What I said to him that day is, “Vance is the same happy, healthy, loving child he was before we got the diagnosis.” Vance had not changed. What changed was the framework within which we viewed his world and the dreams we had for him – who he would become, what he would contribute to the world. We were forever changed, not Vance.
With change comes new hopes and dreams, new ideas about how your child will fit into the world. Change also brings fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of not doing enough for your child, fear he will resent you for pushing him hard, fear he'll be ridiculed or bullied, fear he will be alone one day, and fear he won't be happy.
Six years after his diagnosis, one thing we know for sure is that Vance is a happy kid. Despite the overwhelming number of things that he struggles with in a typical day and the things that cause outsiders to frown or say ignorant things under their breath, Vance is happy. He has the gift of being free of the knowledge and self-awareness that burden the rest of us with insecurity, social pressures, hurt feelings, envy – he is blissfully unaware of such things. No matter what happens in a day, bad moments and all, he always comes out smiling and giggling. We often speculate whether these children are actually more evolved in some ways than the rest of us.
As for the hopes and dreams for Vance, we have many. Vance is very talented in unusual ways – he can play two separate gaming devices simultaneously and still play better than his dad or I could. He is very personable – a real charmer who captures the hearts of everyone who interacts with him. More than anything we hope he never loses his pure happiness. The rest will fall into place with the love and support of Vance’s circle of family, caregivers, teachers, therapists and champions.”
Jen, Vance’s stepmom