Before you were born we thought we knew what to expect.
Before you were born I had your life all planned out.
Before you were born we made everything perfect.
Before you were born I just knew who you’d be.
Before you were three I noticed something strange.
Before you were three we lost our cool.
Before you were three we didn’t know what to do.
Before you were three you stopped looking at me.
Before you were five we asked for help.
Before you were five we were told things were fine.
Before you were five you would lose your mind.
Before you were five you were just “too smart.”
Before we gave up we found someone to help.
Before we gave up someone finally listened.
Before we gave up we made a great stride.
Before we gave up we knew you’d be fine.
Before your diagnosis I thought it was the worst possible thing.
Before you were diagnosed I thought I’d lost you forever.
Before you were diagnosed I cried myself to sleep.
Before you were diagnosed I didn’t know what to do.
But afterwards… Afterwards we found you!
Afterwards we learned how to help you.
Afterwards you gained a life we couldn’t imagine.
Afterwards we loved you just the same.
Autism is scary, I won’t lie.
You were in the dark and so were we.
Autism is a lot, for you and for us.
But it’s also what makes you who you are!
Lyvonne Pfeffer lives in McMinnville, Oregon, with her husband and five-year-old son. She is an amateur writer by trade, but her son’s autism diagnosis spurred her to look into a career in special education. She does in-home-care for the elderly and disabled and is also working towards her degree in hopes of one day being a special education coordinator for her local school district. She and her husband run a support group, Yamhill Family Connections, in her county for parents and families of those with developmental disabilities. She has also done some work with Creating Opportunities, a member of the Oregon Consortium of Family Networks, as well as with Autism Society of Oregon. On her downtime, she works on spreading awareness for developmental disabilities and on constructing Lego masterpieces with her son.
This article was featured in Issue 59 – Top Strategies, Therapies and Treatments for Autism