The Mighty Logo

There Is Beauty in My Son's Autism

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

My son’s name is Rowan. His name means “little red one.” When I think what that might mean, I see fire, strength, intensity and a force to be reckoned with. How fitting for my son. He is all of those things and more.

Rowan is 6 years old and diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, among other things. He has had significant struggles that have brought him and our family to our knees on more than one occasion.

But despite this, there is beauty in his autism.

Yes. Beauty.

Our little red one is highly observant. He notices intricate details that us “typical” folk might not see, or find relevant, but to him… it’s everything. He questions it, he wants to know everything there is to know, about that “minor” detail.

That is beauty in autism.

Rowan’s memory — this quirky little boy can recall family gatherings, places we went, what the weather was like and what we were doing that day. Memories from when he was a toddler, ones I struggle to remember.

That is beauty in autism.

Boy with autism sleeping holding moms hand

Thinking in pictures. Rowan has said when he thinks of things in his mind, or tries to recall something, it’s just like playing a movie. He doesn’t hear words, he sees pictures.

That is beauty in autism.

Honesty. Now, this part is really something,  neurotypicals tend to struggle with honesty; we either lie to protect ourselves or we lie to protect someone else. Rowan has no filter, he doesn’t lie to protect your feelings, he is honest. He will tell you exactly what he thinks. I will never forget the time we were walking up to his school and his principle knelt down beside him and said, “Good morning, Rowan!” My honest son replied back in a matter of fact way, “Your breath smells like farts.” I could do nothing in that moment, but laugh.

That is beauty in autism.

Boy smiling at camera wearing shirt that reads: I am not misbehaving, I have autism please understand

Line ’em up, and stack ’em high. Anyone who knows my son knows he loves to line up his cars or stack 12 salad dressing bottles one on top of the other, among other thing. His ability to stack objects with such incredible precision is astounding. A future engineer perhaps?

That is beauty in autism.

Boy with autism sleeping on floor next to his toy cars lined up

You see, on the hard days, which sometimes come as a string of really bad days, bad days when you start to lose hope, the bad days when you have nothing left to give… you must remember the beauty.

Remembering the beauty is what can give you hope, it’s what can keep you going, it’s what you see when you look down into his beautiful big blue eyes that are looking back up at you.

Our son is autistic, and his beauty is strong.

Always, look for the beauty.

Originally published: July 4, 2018
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home