Monday, February 7, 2011

The Upside to Autism

Yes - there's an upside.

The last few weeks I've been feeling discouraged, overwhelmed, disgusted, frustrated.  The stress of the Turning 5 process is weighing down on me.  But this weekend, being away from The Boy made me realize what I was doing it for and made me appreciate the life that was given to me.  Having a child on the Autism Spectrum is difficult.  However, there are so many things to celebrate and be grateful for.  I wanted to name a few:

  1. I've met some pretty amazing people since The Boy's diagnosis.  I have received so much encouragement and support.  And I've met some people that have been true inspirations.  I've been able to create a network of people that I never would have met, if not for Autism.  
  2. Structure.  We all need it.  But it's never been one of my strong suits.  Autism forced me to become more structured and organized. 
  3. Compassion.  I don't think I really understood this word until becoming a mother of a special needs child.  It's made me look at the world differently.
  4. Confidence. The Boy has given me an enormous sense of confidence.  I have my moments, where I break down.  We all have them.  But I really believe that I am at my personal best, just being his mother.      
  5. The Boy rarely looks me in the eye.  And on the rare occassion when he says "I love you," he still doesn't really look me in the eye.  But he says it, sometimes spontaneously, sometimes not.  And whether or not he looks me in the eye - I know he means it.  He may not understand all emotions but he understands that one.  And that makes me especially grateful. I will never take those three words for granted.  I will never take any of his words for granted.  I will always stop and listen to what he has to say.          

So yes, The Boy is a handflapper, stim-talker, relay racer, door closer, liner upper, plastice chewer.  But he's mine.  And he makes me smile every single day.  

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AutismWonderland - written by Lisa Quinones-Fontanez - is a personal blog chronicling a NYC family's journey with autism, while also sharing local resources for children/families with special needs.