Secret Joy: the Many Silver Linings in Raising a Child With Autism Spectrum Disorder

There is so much social stigma and misunderstanding about autism: people on the spectrum have no feelings, or are unable to form relationships or make progress. These are all static pictures of a work in progress, a life as unique as any neurotypical person.

The people who have devoted their lives to helping someone who is on the autism spectrum, at home or in a classroom get the privilege of learning some of life’s greatest lessons everyday. We overcome challenges that most people don’t even think about and push ourselves beyond what we thought was possible.

“Having a son with severe autism has taught me more about unconditional love than any other experience I have had or could imagine,” – Thomas Frazier, PhD, director of the Cleveland Clinic Children’s Center for Autism.

Parents of ASD children notice that because these kids sometimes lack access to social nuances, they are often very direct in their needs and unconditional in their expressions of love. Similarly, they may not cry when they are sad, or say the words, but their actions will display their feelings unmistakably.

“You communicate through your actions, even if I don’t say it with my mouth, I say it with my actions.” – 12 year-old autistic boy.

When these children make headway, overcome an obstacle, tackle something new or take something unfamiliar in stride, it’s a golden moment for these parents. In the same way their kids will command different methods for learning and adapting, so do their parents and caretakers. The innovation and collaboration that all family members must necessarily adapt become part of their approach to life in general.

As grownups, we are always being pushed around by the abstractions of time, work, money, the future, and so on. But autism lives in the now. It lives in the sensory present and we could all use a little more of that, couldn’t we?

 Seeing the world through an ASD child’s eyes and sharing his or her experiences is a whole new vision of the world.

Slowly but surely, science and society both are starting to elaborate on all the ways that autism offers insight into human capability and how kids on the spectrum can learn to thrive. The list of great organizations, charities, networks and groups that support people with autism and their families is growing all the time. They range from nationwide to local organizations, from non-profits working in autism research to support groups and social clubs. 

There is no doubt that autism is frustrating, disappointing and sometimes downright scary, but families dealing with it everyday will tell you that the struggle in discovering ways to encourage their child is worth it. It’s safe to say these families are proof that the impossible really is possible. For more information on good news around ASD, visit: http://blog.theautismsite.com/

 

About Susie Almaneih

Susie Almaneih spent several years during her young adulthood teaching children dance at her church group, as well as other cultural-based activities. Susie now spends as much time as she can giving back to the families in her community. Over the years, this love for community has evolved into a deeper love for delivering positive and creative content and awareness to families of all ages.

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