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10 Benefits of Having a Child on the Autism Spectrum

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We often overlook the good aspects of having a child with autism. The following outlines my reasons for feeling gratitude for my 12- year-old son.

1. You become a better person. Whether you are a parent, grandparent, sibling or a friend. We all reap the benefits of knowing or having a person in our lives with autism. These kids can teach us so much. We learn to be more patient and tolerant. You look at the world differently and gain the ability to think outside the box.

2. You get to create news dreams and hopes for your child. For the first couple of years, we felt numb about the future. As time went on and we tapped into how our son learned best, we were able to see a bright future ahead. Temple Grandin has given incredible advice: “Expose them to everything because you never know what they could be interested in.” We have introduced him to so many things and he couldn’t be a more well rounded person.

3. You become more educated. Sure this might not have been your choice education, but if you are willing, you can become an “expert” on autism. It is a lot of hard work and research but eventually you will get to a point where you can say, “I am an expert on my child.”

4. You don’t take things for granted. You realize how every little step of the way contributes to the success of your child. It’s a lifelong journey. Be patient with the process and remember to celebrate the small victories.

5. Knowing someone with autism can often open new doors for you. Knowing our son has had a powerful effect on those around us. It has led to volunteer experiences, new promotions and positions. He unexpectedly changed all of our lives for the better.

6. “Quirkiness” is cool. I can’t tell you how many of my son’s sounds brings a smile to my face. These sounds are part of the playlist of my life. Although he is verbal, his “quirky” sounds and actions let us know his mood. Sure he is “quirky,” but he is also polite, kind and can tell you the day you were born on if you ask!

7. There is a method to the process. My son asks a lot of questions. Anybody will tell you that. Sometimes answering repetitive questions over and over can really take a toll on your mental capacity. I’ve learned to incorporate breaks for myself, question burnout can happen. Trust me. I do love his inquisitive nature. There is always a deeper meaning.

8. Love is powerful. There have been many days that I didn’t want to get up, I didn’t want to try, I didn’t want to learn but all I have ever had to do is look at my boy’s smile with those sparkling blue eyes and know that I could never give up.

9. They teach you about life inadvertently, what’s important and what is not. They teach you to take time to smell the flowers, to pay attention to the changing seasons, to really live in the moment!

10. They become your hero. He works so hard, he doesn’t even realize it. He knows he has autism but it may take time for him to see that his brain works differently. He never says, “I can’t do it,” he always tries. He is a constant source of inspiration. He pushes me to work hard for him.

Getty image by Archv

Originally published: December 8, 2018
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