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.

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