Friday, January 7, 2011

Down the Rabbit Hole

My husband and family told me that all children were different, that boys developed slower than girls.  That Norrin was fine.  And I knew that more than reassuring me, they were reassuring themselves.  But on the day that Norrin was diagnosed, it wasn’t reassurance I needed, but confirmation.  I walked into the office prepared to hear the words. 

Still the words, “your child has autism,” came too swiftly like an unexpected punch in the pelvis.  And they came without explanation.  The words were powerful enough to push me into an unfamiliar world.  And it was a slow descent to the bottom of the rabbit hole.  It was a wondrous place, though it wasn’t the destination of my desire.  And always as I walked, I could still see the world I had fallen from – taunting and teasing. 

But, as time went on, the place I wasn’t supposed to be became my familiar.  I realized our Wonderland was more than a place to pass through.  It is not easy land to live in.  It requires regularity and patience – two things that never came naturally.  And it made parenting more demanding than I thought possible.  But every day I am amazed.  I appreciate everything, savor every moment and not a sentence is taken for granted.
Our Wonderland is not a world above or beneath; it is parallel and we walk through both worlds.  Our family lives with autism, we are not held captive by it. 

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AutismWonderland - written by Lisa Quinones-Fontanez - is a personal blog chronicling a NYC family's journey with autism, while also sharing local resources for children/families with special needs.