Almost a year ago, Caleb was placed on the autism spectrum. In the months since, I've been plagued with questions about the accuracy of the diagnosis. I'm sure I've bugged friends and family to no end with the one burning question: "Is he or isn't he?" I know they wanted to respond with, "Well, what do you want me to say?" The truth is, I really didn't know what I wanted to hear.
After months of insomnia, lots of prayer and a little research, I've finally come to terms with his diagnosis and in my heart I feel this label fits. Once I made this declaration, I was flooded with the inner peace I've so desperately sought.
You're probably wondering why it really matters; It's just a label after all. But, it matters to me. I can't really explain it. No, it doesn't impact how I see Caleb or drastically affect our relationship. I guess the label makes me feel like I am closer to unraveling the mystery of Caleb.
Caleb's teacher referred to him this year as an "outlier." I think that fits. He is a boy functioning outside the norm in temperament, personality and intellect. Basically, it means he's different. Different can be frustrating. It can cause us to scratch our heads and weep in frustration. But, different can be amazing. It can cause us to laugh and stand in awe of someone wise beyond his years. Most importantly, different grows us all and makes us appreciate all that different can be.
I asked Caleb's doctor this week how his diagnosis would impact him later in life. She replied, "I think he'll be just fine, maybe a little quirky."
I can live with quirky. In fact, I'm learning to embrace it!