It’s the time of year for formal thanksgivings, so I decided to compose a few notes about my autistic son and my gratefulness to have him in my life. The following is a list of reasons why I am thankful for my son as well as the presence of autism in our society.
- Learning about autism and autism advocacy has helped me understand the life experiences and behaviors of my brother, who is also on the spectrum. The role/experience of a sibling is different than that of a parent to a child on the spectrum, and I am grateful for both of these experiences which help me relate to and connect with a variety of different people in my life, including my siblings, parents, and my neurotypical children.
- Learning about autism and disability has offered our family an intimately rich and diverse life experience not shared by everyone. My son’s diagnosis and the subsequent research I’ve conducted since have helped me embrace and appreciate the value of life’s differences, not merely tolerate them.
- My son challenges me to learn more about the world through his special interests.
- His “perseverations” (or work ethic) at a young age with letters and numbers led to early reading skills and fantastic penmanship. He is also diagnosed with ataxic cerebral palsy, so balance and coordination are challenging for him, which makes these skills all the more impressive.
- The neurodiversity movement is a nice extension of the disability rights movement, which has challenged the standard of normalcy and welcomed all kinds of abilities and societal contributions.
- A unique way of thinking and differing approaches to solving problems helps grow a society. Autistic people certainly offer that.
- I’m grateful for my autistic son for the exact same reasons I am grateful for my other neurotypical children. I’m grateful for their humanity and all the wonderful things that accompany it–hopes, fears, love, and potential.
But enough about me. Here are some other articles written by people on the spectrum about autism appreciation and pride: