The importance of getting diagnosed

I feel very fortunate that I got diagnosed with autism when I did. My daughters were both in their pre-teen years. Both were having trouble in school. I got them both tested by a psychologist. Both of them were placed on the autism spectrum. So, armed with those reports I was able to get support for my daughters from the school board. It has made a huge difference, of course, in their lives. My older daughter is about ready to graduate from high school with honours and attend Cegep in the fall. That’s the junior college in Quebec in between Grade 11 and full fledged university. My younger daughter is just finishing Grade 8 and doing extremely well. She’s also being treated for Attention Deficit Disorder with Concerta which has helped immensely. I’m so very proud of my daughters who were both bullied unmercifully in grade school. My older one said she wanted to kill herself regularly in those days, recollecting. My younger one doesn’t talk much about her feelings but it’s all in there I’m sure, stored away. The years of being seen as weird, off, different, strange.

High school has been good to them because they’ve been in the care of a special education coordinator. Every April, which is Autism Awareness month, the school does an awareness campaign with a bake sale and a video made by the autistic students who want to participate. Just a few brief sentences on what it is to be autistic and how they are different and how they want to be treated by others. It’s helped open so many eyes at that school. My daughters are treated with respect and dignity. Not seen as odd or weird. Simply wired differently.  I wish that for every child who is autistic.

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