World Autism Awareness Day 04.02.11

Five years ago I was unaware of how autism affects families. It wasn’t talked about in the mainstream media like it is today. There wasn’t a World Autism Awareness Day until four years ago. When I think about how autism has changed our family’s life over the years, I am grateful for a lot of the adjustments, and others, not so much. In keeping with the positive, on this day I’d like to share the good that has come from my son’s diagnosis.

  • Awareness. I have learned to stop what I’m doing when my son talks to me, get down to his level and look him in the eyes. This gesture helps him in developing his conversation skills, and helps me to slow down and give him my full attention, which he deserves. I’ve also become a much more aware parent of my kids…where they are, what they are doing and how they feel.
  • Patience, patience, and did I mention patience? Any parent of a child with autism understands the importance of practicing this virtue. I work on it every day and will have fully acquired it by the time I’m 90. (I hope)
  • Knowledge. If it weren’t for autism, I wouldn’t have researched diets, artificial food additives, organic foods, and the importance of eating healthy, whole foods for our body’s fuel. Prepared foods are minimal now, and they are free of all the junk that most commercially available “food in a box” contain.
  • Friendships. Not only have I cherished every friendship my son with autism has gained over the years, but I have benefited in this department as well. If it weren’t for autism, I wouldn’t have met some wonderful people who have become true friends that I cherish each day.
  • Courage. This one is a biggie for my son and me. My son shows his courageous spirit every time he overcomes the fear of trying something new that may seem overwhelming to him. I have found the courage to fight for what he needs in every aspect of life, and have learned from my son to face my fears as well.
  • Volunteering. Helping others understand how they can help their child through this blog. I am so blessed to be able to reach parents, caregivers, and family of children with autism and help them along their journey.
  • Understanding. Autism has taught me how to teach my son an understanding of his world. By doing this, I have gained a tremendous amount of understanding for other people and their “issues”.
  • Gratitude. I’m grateful for the little things in life. Like my son’s first “why” question, whenever he asks another child to play with him, his hugs and kisses, when he looks me in the eyes, and when others tell me how much they adore him.

Autism has changed my life and the lives of many families around the world. Take a look around you and you’ll find someone who is affected by autism. Either they have a child, sibling, relative, friend, co-worker, or neighbor affected by it. Or perhaps that person you watch and wonder about has it too. Please keep in mind the positives and learn from it.

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