Membership Rewards: 10 Perks to Having a Child with Autism

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!

49 thoughts on “Membership Rewards: 10 Perks to Having a Child with Autism

  1. Kelly

    I love your posting, it is totally how I feel about both my boys with ASD. There is one more thing I would love to add.

    Your child/children value you higher than most typical children, even at the age of 10, mommy still walks on water and they aren’t afraid to show affection…even at school in front of their peers. They know what unconditional love is and aren’t afraid to show it.

    There is nothing greater in my opinion than these wonderful children that we have.

  2. Jessica Fredrick

    11. When traveling to Disney, our family gets a fast pass. We don’t have to wait in long lines for rides and shows. We also receive VIP seating for shows when it’s availalbe. Thank you autism.

    1. Jen

      We also get a fast-pass at our local SeaWorld. It works out great, since my son is not known for his patience! :)

    2. Profile photo of FlappinessIsFlappinessIs Post author

      Jessica, I actually had this listed as one from the beginning. But then I got to worrying whether or not people would negatively assume people are faking it for a Fast Pass. You know how people are…And I didn’t want to mess up a good thing! lol We can’t wait until our little guy is old enough to try out Disney. Right now, he would hate it, but we plan to use this perk for sure! :)

      1. The Reluctant Monogamist

        I would LOVE for someone to try and tell me my son is “faking it” just to get a pass. Like your average 7 year old can be coached to flap, spin, repeat nonsensical words endlessly and throw a tantrum all at the same time!

        1. Profile photo of FlappinessIsFlappinessIs Post author

          I know, right? But I just KNEW some idiot would start a stink. But you know what? I’m going to add a postscript. D**m the torpedos! Full speed ahead!

      2. Jessica Fredrick

        Here’s the great thing – no one at Disney or Sea World even asks why you have a Fast Pass… it’s awesome! It’s a perk either way. 😉 I didn’t even need a dr. note because it’s obvious my son has autism when they talk to him.

      3. Dad of Two

        We have used this very perk when visiting Disney World. We were traveling with my autistic nephew (my son was not diagnosed at the time) and his grandmother was in a wheelchair. My son is going back to Disney World again and yep, we’re gonna use the fast pass again.

  3. Jodi

    We are opening a retail store in Clearwater, FL. I was wondering if I may “borrow” this list and frame it and place it in our store. It is said beautifully!

    1. Jodi

      Just realized I left out the fact that this store is to provide therapy/educational products to children with special needs.

      1. Leona Majesky

        Can you give me more info? When are you opening? I live in FL and would love to come by when we are in the area!

      1. Jodi

        Thanks so much. What is your name so I can list you as the author. Also someone else (Leona Majesky) asked for more info on the store but I couldn’t figure out where I should respond to that so I will put it here and if you want to share with your peeps feel free. The store is called Kids Toolbox and will be located at 1550 McMullen Booth Road in Clearwater. We are anticipating opening by the end of this month. People can follow us on Facebook to watch our progress or email me at kidstoolbox@hotmail.com

        1. Profile photo of FlappinessIsFlappinessIs Post author

          My name is Leigh Merryday. Thanks for including it. Wish I was closer to you guys. Hopefully Leona will get to visit. I’m closer to Jacksonville. :(

      2. Jessica Fredrick

        I’m near Orlando/Disney – clearly we need to have a get together now that there are a bunch of Floridians ;))

        1. Profile photo of FlappinessIsFlappinessIs Post author

          Lucky you. Floridian ASD kids Orlando and below have a lot more opportunities for help than those in the northern part of the state. You have to drive an hour from here to find ABA. :(

  4. Jen

    I’d have to say another perk is the education I am recieving. Not only by going to all the appts for therapy & evaluations, but about life in general. I am learningg just how strong I can be when it comes to children’s well-being.

    Not to mention, I know more about turtles than anybody I know except my son!

  5. Beth R

    I love this! It seems as though we often get stuck in the negative realm of ASD reality, whether it is reporting the days/weeks events to the many different individuals that help with our child or just having an emotional day. Thank you so much for noticing, appreciating and bringing to light the positives that these children bring into our lives!

  6. Sandi

    These are so true! We so often forget the blessings that our children bring us with their uniqueness. Thanks for the reminder!

  7. C...

    #4 totally had me laughing. I save so much in grocery and fast food money because my son only likes like 4 things or something redonkulously like that. I eat more junk than he does.

    Also thanks for mentioning the theme park perk. I had no idea about that.

  8. Jennifer

    Yes!!! Agree with all of it! :) And yes, if you go to Disney, you MUST get the GAC! Made our trip wonderful!

    (And Leigh….I’ve been reading your blog for some time, and today YOU repinned some of my pins on Pinterest!! hahaha, I was so happy about that, lol! Small world.)

  9. Adriene Fern

    Your words ring true and with great humor! As we need to laugh more than we cry. Our special children are gifts that are bestowed on us, because we are special too!

  10. Colleen

    Oh boy, I wish I could say #7 was true of me, but honestly, I think all my patience was used up over the last three years and now I’m plum out. :(

  11. Kaylie'sMommy

    I recently saw a quote on Facebook that really resonated with me.

    “With gratitude, all life appears as a blessing – without gratitude, all of life is perceived as a burden.” -Jonathan Lockwood Huie.

    I am so grateful for my three year old daughter, Kaylie, who was diagnosed with Autism in September. She is so much fun. Everyone loves her. When I spoke to her speech therapist the other day on the phone, she actually started sobbing because she thought she was going to have to give Kaylie to another therapist because of a schedule conflict (we worked it out, however, and Kaylie is staying with her). Although I didn’t like to hear her cry, it made me realize that it’s not just me (Kaylie’s biased mommy) who was smitten with this sweet little gift from God. She really is such a pleasure to be with. She’s been having an incredible breakthrough this past month. About five weeks ago, Kaylie only said about 3 words (open, help and more). Today, she is talking up a storm (50 words, easily). They’re not always clear but enough so that we can understand and get her what she is requesting. We are amazed with her progress since she started a special day class at preschool and also with her continued ABA. I am believing God that she is going to catch up with her typical peers someday. We couldn’t be more proud of our girl!

  12. debi9kids

    Beautiful list about the simple blessings of autism.
    I’ve come full circle… From depression to complete acceptance and its made such a difference in seeing everything wonderful about my son.

    1. Profile photo of FlappinessIsFlappinessIs Post author

      I was trying to stick to the intrinsic rewards. Clearly, we special needs parents are not immune to the extrinsic ones as well! LOL Noted and corrected. :)

      1. Julie

        You don’t need a doctors note at Disney World well maybe that is just our experience but it is still cool to not have to wait in any line other than when buying food! I read on fb that if your child has an ASD diagnoses you qualify for a disability parking pass. Is that true? My daughter is a runner and getting older so the bear leash isn’t going to work soon and it could really help to have the option to park in an accessible parking spot.

  13. Jim Reeve

    I love when my son holds my hand. He doesn’t care how many of his friends see him. I’m actually glad that he doesn’t seem too concerned about other people’s opinions.

  14. Marcy

    My son is amazing. When I see other kids fighting, screaming, calling each other names, I look at my perfect son and know he would never do that. Reason #532 why I could never be the parent to a nt child. Lol!!!!

    1. Kimberly

      😐 It’s disappointing to read that you have sooo many reasons to not want to parent a NT child. I have both. My oldest son is moderately-severly autistic and very delightful to parent. My younger son is a well-mannered and loving brother. I credit a fair amount of my older son’s developmental progress to my younger son. Regardless of special needs, they are still brothers so there is the occasional fighting. Bottom line is the way children behave whether or not they have special needs is all about how we parent them. And on top of that… Sibs of special needs are special people, too! They are more compassionate, patient and understanding than any of their peers.

  15. Tina Hoctor

    I’d like to add that my son doesn’t know how to lie or bully others. Spiteful behavior and malice does not seem to register in his mind and seems so foreign to him when he sees other kids acting that way. That’s defiantly a perk!

    1. Sharon

      I see this as a blessing & an obstacle the obstacles being my daughter’s naivety which is why we have taught her how to tell white lies & being too passive so we have encouraged her to be assertive.

  16. Julie

    Thank you for reminding me of all the positives!! I’m crying tears of gratitude love and appreciation!

  17. Kristina Mc.

    Here’s another perk not mentioned yet. Anyone disabled of any age can get a lifetime national park pass. Just google national park pass for the disabled and send in the application.

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