5 Ways Autism Changed Our Family


 1. Autism shows you who your true friends and family are.

Nothing will show you someone’s true colors faster than having a special needs child. We’ve lost friends (and even some family), but the ones who are still here are the best of the best. We’ve decided that our family includes anyone we deem family!

2. I’m a better person with a stronger marriage.

I have a lot more understanding, compassion and love for all who are different. My daughter, Lila, has opened my eyes to so much and I’m forever grateful. Bill and I are even stronger now than before we had Lila. He’s the most amazing husband to me and Daddy to Lila. We’re a team, we’re the only ones who truly “get it” and there’s no one I’d rather have in my corner than Bill.

 3. My daughter’s self-esteem is rock solid.

Lila is always her true, 100 percent authentic self – she isn’t swayed by public opinion and gender stereotypes or influenced by corporate advertising. If she shows you affection, it’s a big deal. She never acts any specific way just to try and please someone. She is who she is and that is such a beautiful way of being. I have and will continue to learn so much from her.

blog copy

 4. Autism teaches you to live in the moment.

Her future is unclear – Will she talk? Be able to be potty-trained? Be able to live independently? Who knows – and honestly, that’s all way too much to take in – so we worry about things one day at a time. It’s been a whole new way of living, and I’m a much happier person for it.

 5. I have more appreciation.

We’re grateful for every single thing. Those moments where we’re totally connected – eye contact + giggling + smiling = priceless. We have no idea what her future holds, so there are no givens. Each and every tiny step forward is met with both celebration and gratitude.

This post originally appeared on Dancing With Autism.

Want to end the stigma around disability? Like us on Facebook.

And sign up for what we hope will be your favorite thing to read at night.

TOPICS
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Related to Autism Spectrum Disorder

10 Things I Discovered Because of My Brother With Special Needs

My middle brother, Gabe, is almost 27. He has a syndrome called Cornelia deLange Syndrome (CdLS). He can’t use the bathroom on his own and does not really speak. Growing up with a special needs sibling taught me a lot of lessons and helped shape me into the person I am today. 1. Music is a universal [...]

The Person I Have to Impress at Chemotherapy

When you must face the weathered look of chronic illness day in and day out, those fleeting glances in the mirror can become quite unpleasant. The dark circles, botchy rashes, medical devices and physical disfigurements act as a constant reminder of the life you’ve been unwillingly thrust into — a life drastically altered by new limitations and [...]

People Think This Causes Divorce. It’s Really What Holds Us Together.

Being married or staying married or leaving marriage are all very personal and sometimes painful topics for anyone — and more so for special needs families. I’ve seen statistics that go up to 80 percent for the special needs parent divorce rate (though that number has been debunked). I’ve met gorgeous moms whose husbands walked [...]

To the Husband Who Loved Me at My Best and My Worst

We were partners when we started out – Jack and I – almost 16 years ago. In fact, to be quite honest, I thought my Jack had won the prize. I was smart and virtuous and hard-working. I was willing to go the distance, work the night job so he could work the research job, [...]