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.

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 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.

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