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Friday, November 22, 2013

10 Reasons I Am Thankful for Autism

Like many in the autism community, we were very disturbed at the way Autism Speaks co-founder Suzanne Wright characterized autism in her recent blog post. We are not living in despair or in fear, as Ms. Wright said families of autistic children do. When we are living moment-to-moment, it is not because we struggle to put one foot in front of the other - it is in a conscious effort to slow down and be present to the wonder of each moment.

Obviously, autism presents challenges, but it has also given us many reasons to be grateful. Personally, I am a big believer in looking for the silver lining in every situation. And in searching for the good, I almost always find it. It sure beats focusing on despair, as Suzanne Wright thinks we autism parents do.

Words to live by. Download the free printable here.
All that being the case, this season of Thanksgiving seemed like the perfect time to sit down and count the ways that autism has given me cause to give thanks. I decided to list 10, but once I got started making the list, I realized that it could have been a lot longer, because the more you seek joy, the more you find it. So here we go:

1. My delightful, unique, funny, remarkable son. The list could have stopped here and felt complete, so much joy he adds to our lives.

2. How the experience of raising a special child has really taught my husband and me to parent as a team.

3. The amazing friends I have made through the autism world. I can't imagine my life if I had never met them.

4. The opportunity to share with others and connect with my community through CHART.

5. Having the perfect excuse to own a laminator. I've always loved laminating, and with all of those visuals to make, I finally had a good reason to buy one.

6. Our situation has encouraged me to become more involved at my son's school and his education than I otherwise would have been.

7. I have become more patient. Not patient enough sometimes, but more patient than I used to be.

8. Our wonderful "service cat". Our son was begging for a cat, and what ultimately convinced us was the articles we read about how pets help develop empathy, perspective taking, and social skills. The cat has turned out to be an incredible member of our family, and I love her every bit as much as my son does.

9.The lessons I have learned about being a detective, trying to see things from my son's point of view, and take a different perspective than my own.

10. The tremendous caring and compassion I have seen from teachers, therapists, and other parents. There have been many occasions when I have been moved by the kindness that is all around us. And hopefully our journey with autism has also taught me to be a kinder and more compassionate person too.

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like the "This Is Autism Flash Blog" that was started in response to the Autism Speaks letter. So there is another thing to be thankful for - autistic adults, parents, and others using their voices to speak up for themselves, instead of letting negative fundraising tactics define who they are. What are you thankful for this year? Please share!

Check back soon to see our first ever CHART guest post. We can't wait to share it with you. And have a very happy Thanksgiving.

1 comment :

  1. Love u Bridget !!! Awesome list. Might have to me my own.