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Susan Walton, author of Coloring Outside Autism's Lines, was told she should mourn her son's autism diagnosis to "grieve for the loss of the child I dreamed of having."
While a diagnosis can surely be disheartening, it's no reason to imply a parent has "lost" a child. Children with autism are beautiful beings, possessing extraordinary talents, aspirations, qualities — unique characteristics to be celebrated. As Susan Walton says, "Coming to terms with a child's disability is not a party. No one enrolls for it...But along with the challenges our children bring joy and wonder to our everyday lives."
We must be conscious of the language we use to describe the emotions surrounding an autism diagnosis. Yes, it might be frightening; but children with autism aren't a loss at all. They're distinctive human beings that should be nurtured and appreciated.
Pledge to be mindful of the words you use when talking about autism.