Part of my job is taking those calls from parents who are just starting their journey. I listen to their concerns, document their child's case history, and figure out which therapist they should see, who can best assess their child's needs. It is a great job, and if I can be a positive part of someone's journey, a part that doesn't kick them when they are down, or leave them in tears in a parking lot, then that's a great day. Even better if I can make them feel confident that they are making a strong first step, or let them know that they are not alone.
It does take a lot out of me (hence the disappearing act), especially the parents who are calling because their child has a new diagnosis of Autism. It hits close to home. I want to take these parents and give them a virtual hug, tell them I know it sucks, I know their world feels like it is spinning out of control and that they feel like they don't know where to turn. I want to tell them that it will get better, and that I get it, that it will always be hard, and that no matter what is "wrong" with their child, he is still perfect in his own way. He is still their baby.
At the end of the day, it is so worth it to help people. It helps me take the focus off of myself, and to remember how fortunate I am. If I can lift someone up for even just a few minutes, that is a great thing. It feels good to pay it forward. Dog knows many parents have done it for me.