Without a diagnosis I fear Logan would be singled out as a naughty disruptive child when really he lashes out through fear and when he feels he's being attacked in some way. A big part of autism is having a lack of social and communication skills and since this is a massive part of life in general it really is quite a scary thing to comprehend. I've seen what it can be like for an adult with autism so for a child who has to trust and put their faith in someone to help and guide them must be terrifying.
With a diagnosis of autism I feel that, as a parent, you are taken more seriously when you have concerns, support is requested and provided for in nursery/school, other parents have a better empathy and understand (especially when your child lashes out). There's nothing to hide or be ashamed of so I tell everyone (within reason) that my son is autistic so that they are prepared in some sense when he does something out of the ordinary. A whole support network of parent groups and learning courses etc are opened up to you and it's refreshing to meet other parents who's children have been diagnosed with autism too. Having a diagnosis is not a label, it's a form of help and support and hopefully an acknowledgment of understanding from others.
As a blogger I've been lucky enough to have different opportunities and most of these involve Logan. Recently Logan and I were asked to review some children's theatre shows at the Edinburgh Festival and before Logan's diagnosis I would have probably turned this down. However with the diagnosis came help and support for me as a parent as well as Logan and we've come such a long way as a family. For this reason I don't feel afraid anymore when taking Logan out and about. I try to be prepared as much as possible for any eventuality although sometimes you can't be and you just have to go with it. Yes there's always going to be difficult times, it's just going to be that way which I've accepted now, but having a diagnosis meant that taking Logan to see some children's theatre shows was easier. I felt confident, I walked right to the front of the queue at each show to speak to the staff on hand, explained Logan had autism and asked if it would be ok if we could walk in first to get a seat near the exit so that if things did get a bit too much for him we could leave sharp. Most of the staff were more than happy and were very helpful. Some of the staff didn't have a clue but I was very persistent and this won out in the end.
Before Logan was diagnosed the other half and I were quite often at a loss when it came to his behaviour. One minute he was fine and happy, just like any other child, the next he would be taking massive meltdowns over small things (this is what it seemed like to us) and the world was ending. We didn't know whether we were coming or going when it came to Logan and his moods/ behaviour could change at a moments notice. With diagnosis came support from the health professionals and the other half and I were invited along to several different support groups for parents. These support groups were invaluable and helped us to gain a better understanding of autism and what it meant for helping Logan.
What I'm really trying to say is don't be afraid, be empowered to do what's right by your child. Yes it's hard, I completely understand that. When your child has additional support needs sometimes you feel lost, confused and just plain exhausted. Sometimes you even feel embarrassed by what other people think but don't be. You're doing a great job so don't give up. With the right help and support things can get easier.