Since I tend to write someone dramatically and have been known to drag my soapbox around, it occurred to me that it is high time I write something happy. For not everything about autism is sad. Some of it is inspiring. Some of it is funny. And there are definitely good things about raising a child with autism. Sometimes we forget to tell others. And sometimes we forget to remind ourselves.
1. Folks tend to nominate you for sainthood. We, of course, know that it isn’t us that are special. It’s the child that makes you special. But glowing praise never hurt anybody. And, sometimes, a little pat on the back is what you really need.
2. The sweetness of the baby years lasts longer with developmentally delayed kids. And, if your child is a sensory seeker, you can get all kinds of skin to skin snuggling for years.
3. You will connect with people and form friendships based upon your shared experience in raising special needs children. These are amazing people whose hearts and minds have been tempered by this life-altering journey.
4. If your child has food aversions, you won’t hear a lot of “I want that!” in the grocery store. I’ve never once had to give up my own food for my ASD child. My NT daughter, however, is a persistent mooch.
5. You will develop an appreciation for detail. The details that your ASD child is so good at fixating upon. I now notice more about the world than I ever did – the sounds, the smells, the textures, etc. I have him to thank for that.
6. Their toy wish lists aren’t extensive at all. Young ASD kids get way more excited about household objects than toys. This makes birthdays and Christmases less about things and more about appreciating your blessings.
7. You become more patient with both others and yourself. There is simply no other option. You discover that it isn’t just the child who is growing. You are as well.
8. We take nothing for granted. Not a single thing. When you live in the unknown, all progress is singularly wonderful.
9. You now have the ability to reach out to others beginning the same journey. Which means that you have knowledge, skills, and compassion that can touch the life of another in need. You can be the reassuring hand reaching out in the darkness.
10. The child. He or she is the best reward of all.
P.S. It has been pointed out to me that I failed in mentioning a primo perk to having an ASD child – Fast Passes at Disney! Sea World, other theme parks, etc. They’re called Guest Assistance Cards and require a doctor’s note. They allow autistic kids and their families to enter/exit via a less congested area to help prevent sensory overload, etc. Parents of ASD kids rave about how this simple thing can save a family vacation.
What membership perks have you discovered in having a child with autism?
If you enjoyed this post, you might like this one by Autism Daddy. It’s a similar list and funny!