At 11, Peter still had a tremendous fear of animals. Live animals are unpredictable, have a definite scent, lick him without permission and in general test all of Peter's daily stresses that come with his autistic spectrum disorder.
The day my son was diagnosed with autism was the day my world came to a screeching halt. I didn't know what to do or what to say. Like so many stories I have heard from parents over the years, our diagnosis came with no compassion and no hope.
It is my hope, for those of you who may be at the beginning of your journey with an autistic child, that these things might help you avoid some of the many, many mistakes we made and a great deal of unnecessary pain.
Bruce is no ordinary husband and father. For a man who will tell you that "every aspect of life changed" when his son's diagnosis came 11 years ago, Bruce was extraordinarily candid about what it's like to raise his 13-year-old autistic son.
When children are very young, they have a hard time seeing a different point of view than their own. Most young children seem like that for the first years of their lives. It takes a long time for them to realize their view of the world is different than others.'
The journey from that black hole of despair into which I fell in the weeks after "the diagnosis," as many parents call that fateful moment in their lives, back into light, took years. It is still underway.