Why After Everything, My Child With Autism Is Still Perfect
I imagined many things before you were born. In my mind, everything about you was perfect.
Although you never quite fit into the typical description I read in countless baby and toddler books, I saw this difference as uniqueness – you were perfect.
When the doctors diagnosed you with classic autism, I understood your differences and uniqueness would present certain challenges in your life. But in my eyes you were still perfect.
You were non-verbal for the first few years of your young life. It was so hard trying to soothe you when you cried because I didn’t know what was ailing you. Every time I looked into your eyes, my heart overflowed with emotion; you were still perfect.
You didn’t know how to interact with your playmates, preferring to be alone to play with your toys. While everyone interpreted your behavior as odd, I saw you as still perfect.
Your meltdowns came before your language. I knew this was your way of communicating feelings. This made it harder for us to go out and do things, but I knew these meltdowns wouldn’t last forever. Your language did come, ever so slowly, but it came. That’s all that matters; you were still perfect.
You get overly focused with certain objects or shows, which makes it more difficult to engage in other things. I gently try to redirect your attention, sometimes successfully, sometimes not. But every time I see the same thing; you are still perfect.
You still have certain challenges when it comes to communicating your needs, but it gets better every day. As you assert your independence, you become more aware of the need to verbalize your feelings. This is a huge step forward; you are still perfect.
You learn at a different pace than other children your age. You go to a school for kids with special needs where you learn life skills. You will not graduate with a high school diploma, but instead with more knowledge than when you started. Nobody can take that away from you; you are still perfect.
We were blessed to have had some great teachers that knew how to both engage and challenge you. It never ceased to amaze me, even with limited communication skills, how much you understood. You are still perfect.
As some kids are getting ready for college, learning how to drive a car or getting their first boyfriend/girlfriend, I know your path will be different. But it will be equally worthy and significant; you are still perfect.
You are very different than the child I imagined, and I’m glad. I’m grateful for all that you are. Reading and imagining are nothing compared to living and experiencing; you are still perfect.
You overcome many challenges on a daily basis. Each one you conquer makes you stronger, smarter and more independent; you are still perfect.
I will be your advocate when you cannot advocate for yourself. I will be your number one supporter in all that you do. In my eyes you are and always will be still perfect.
Follow this journey on Speaking Autism.