What I'm Thankful for as the Parent of a Child on the Autism Spectrum


Social media in November is often filled with daily posts on thankfulness. This year, however, the posts have seemed to have a much different feel, with little thanks or grace. So here are a few things I am thankful for: two happy, healthy daughters; a husband who works hard so I can stay home during these early years; family and friends who love, support and accept us as we are; and my 3-year-old’s autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis.

We recently received an ASD diagnosis for my daughter Nora. The diagnosis wasn’t a bombshell; it wasn’t devastating news. It was an answer. An answer to some questions, to some concerns. We have always known Nora is unique, that she has some quirks. And those quirks are some of our favorite things about her. We love her personality; we love her spirit. We don’t want to change anything about her. She is still the sweet, affectionate, hilarious and adventurous girl we have always known — diagnosis or no diagnosis. Only our perspective has changed.

We aren’t searching for a “cure” or a cause. Our intention is to get supports in place to help her develop and maintain meaningful and appropriate relationships, as well as improve her skills to be successful in school and the community. She has so many strengths and is so motivated; we do not doubt her potential. I am thankful for Nora. And if ASD is a part of Nora, I am thankful for that as well. Not only has the diagnosis given me a better understanding of my daughter and her needs, it has also given me a renewed thankfulness for our family and friends. Their response has overwhelmingly been one of acceptance, encouragement and love. So as we continue on into the land of referrals, wait lists, and paperwork, paperwork, paperwork — it is with a sense of relief and gratitude.

Image via Thinkstock.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Related to Autism Spectrum Disorder

Student in classroom taking notes next to open book on table

Helping My Daughter Understand That We All Learn at Different Rates

My daughter is 11 years old and has an autism diagnosis. She is an amazing kid, but her self-esteem can be low and she can also be self-critical. I have been working in conjunction with a clinical psychologist recently to help my daughter build confidence in her abilities. She regularly compares herself to other students [...]
Toy farm cars lined up in a row

To the Parents Whose Children Love to Line Up Their Toys

Dear parent, Does your child love to line up their toys? As someone who consults for families and gives talks on early intervention plans, this is one of the most common things I see amongst toddlers and younger children who are on the autism spectrum. When I was a kid, I loved routines and order. [...]
Santa Claus and Mrs. Clause sitting on a stage

Why the Holidays Can Be Hard for Me as a Person on the Autism Spectrum

This time of year — the holiday season — can be especially hard for me as an adult with an autism spectrum disorder. It has been especially hard for me to deal with Thanksgiving and Christmas since both of my parents passed away many years ago, and I don’t see my family members often. I [...]

My Son Is the Same Boy He Was Before His Autism Diagnosis

When the doctor told me my son has autism, I had no idea what it meant. My mind raced with a million thoughts and questions at once, and I knew I needed to find out everything I could about autism. Getting useful information about autism was challenging. There was no firsthand information available to me. [...]