Today someone at work overheard me on the phone with Natalie's therapist. He approached me and asked if Natalie was okay. He wanted to know what type of therapy Natalie was doing. I know that I did not have to answer his questions but he seemed genuinely caring so I tried...I tried to say the word. It was horrible. Why does the "A" word still haunt me? Why does it still bring me to tears when I say it out loud? I can write the word with no problem, Autism, Autism...there, I wrote it and I am okay (I think). But when I say the word, I choke up; I can't breathe and the tears begin to flow like a river.
Every time that I have attempted to tell someone about Natalie's diagnosis, I have to stop, I find it so difficult to talk about it. Sometimes I say it as fast as I can... but I can't...it takes several attempts. I hate that word, I hate the stigma attached to it. I want to hear her voice, I want her to be accepted, I don’t want her in therapy every week.
Yes, I hate the 'A' word. But I remind myself each day that my daughter is not autistic, she has autism. Autism does not define who she is; and she is still my precious little girl.