My Guiding Light

May of 2010 was a tough month for me.  We got the official word that B is on the spectrum.  During the weeks following that fateful day in May, I tried my best to get all my ducks in a row.  I was learning the  ropes, the processes, the in and outs of the system.  And I was trying to do it on my own.  And it was not working.

I needed help.  I was beyond stressed out and I didn’t know where to turn.  I tried getting in touch with the autism specialist that was assigned to B’s case in our school district.  She emailed me, what I realize now, is a fantastic document with everything you might need to know about finding resources in my area.  At the time, though, it was useless.  I didn’t understand the jargon.  I didn’t know which step I needed to take first.  I couldn’t put one foot in front of the other and get done what needed doing.

I was crying every single day.  I felt like I needed to accomplish a million things, but nobody would stop and explain to me what they were.  My life was falling apart around me and I didn’t know how to fix it. My friends and family were wonderful.  They encouraged me and gave me a shoulder to cry on, but they didn’t have the answers I needed.

In early June, I went back to the copy of the autism resource guide I had received to give it another shot.  I still didn’t understand much of what I was reading, but I did stumble across a section about community supports.  Right there, in the middle of the wealth of information, I found what has become my guiding light.

On June 15, I attended my first Autism Support Group meeting.  It was glorious.  Not only was this group of parents willing to let me cry on their shoulders, but they were able to answer my questions.  They were able to nod in agreement.  They were able to really understand what I was going through.

I left the meeting that evening with a new determination.  All of these people were doing it.  If they were making it in this confusing, whirlwind of a world, I could too.

That night, I joined the group’s list serve email group.  I now not only had a physical place to go once a month, but also a virtual place that was there for me every day of the year.  I started posting questions.  I was getting answers.  I was able to take some baby steps.

My friends and family continued to provide me with a level of love and support that could not be matched by anyone. They have been taking those baby steps with me.   They carry me on this journey.

This may be a bold statement, but I am going to say it: the single most helpful thing I have done since starting our autism journey, is to join a local parent support group.

I have attended every monthly meeting since June.  I check our list serve most every day.  I joined our group to walk for Autism Speaks.  I went out to dinner with several ladies for a mom’s night out.  I email and talk to several mom’s with similar aged children.  They understand.  They commiserate.  They answer my questions.  They are my guiding light.


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. akbutler
    Oct 13, 2010 @ 13:22:31

    I totally get it. I’d be lost without my support group. We started meeting in May and meet every month now. they are my inspiration and my source of strength. I’m glad you have that too.


    • autismisnot
      Oct 13, 2010 @ 14:20:51

      I think it should be required that the first thing they tell you after, “your child has autism” is “here is a list of support groups, join one right away.” I would not have made it through the past six months without them.


  2. Hel
    Oct 13, 2010 @ 13:57:07


  3. photobyholly
    Oct 17, 2010 @ 16:05:38

    I’m so happy you found a good support group! My son (who is 6 1/2) was diagnosed a little over a year ago with Asperger Syndrome, and finding a support group was the best thing I could possibly have done – and I have made some new wonderful friends!! We also have a Mom’s Night Out at least once a month, and it is exactly what we all need – a night to ourselves, to relax and have fun, but it is more for us, because we all have a special bond! 🙂


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