I am not a Control Freak, any more than any other autism mom is; or perhaps what I should say is that Control Freak is the baseline for autism parent. We add on our levels from there. We start out in shock, as the diagnosis is acquired and sinks in. In fact, here is my rendition of The Levels of Autism Coping:
1) Suspicions But No Evidence (also comes in the form of Doctor Disbelief). This level may be substituted for Noticing Something is Wrong, but both often result in Doctor Disbelief.
2) Diagnosis Shock
3) Depression and Withdrawal
4) Anger and Renewal of Energy
5) Learning and Becoming an Expert
6) Partnering With Parents and Families Like Yours
7) Exhaustion and Withdrawal
8) Questioning of Priorities
9) Balance — Somehow.
10) Acceptance and Calm Advocacy
11) Teenager Shock
12) Transition Jitters
13) Panicky, Active Learning About Adulthood
14) Confusion About Adulthood
15) Coming Up With A Plan
16) Networking With Parents and Families Like Yours
17) Anxiety About 15 & 16
18) Trying it Anyway: Developing an Autism Adulthood Routine
19) Watching and Waiting
In other words, whatever comes up, you go through it and you figure out the next steps. You control it as much as you can so that it doesn’t control you or your family. And by the way, the “It” I refer to is not your child, and it is not Autism. The It that you must control is all the issues around autism, the baggage, the stuff that gets between you and your child. Autism Mom Control Freaking is really just about trying to stay there with your child and take care of him. It’s just Motherhood on Steroids. It is Saber Tooth Tiger Momming.