A Parent’s Perspective: The awesome things about autism I’m most grateful for this Thanksgiving
November is a season of thanksgiving and gratitude. If we’re honest, thankfulness is not typically our first response when parenting a child with autism. It takes intentionality to see the good and the beautiful in the midst of the hard, messy disruptions autism brings into our lives.
It’s all too easy to focus on the meltdowns and frustrations, the communication barriers, the lack of friendships, and the deep grief of a life that is different from what we planned.
Autism is a unique journey that brings both challenges and joy.
This holiday season, I want to challenge you to look for the many gifts autism brings. Sometimes, we notice these gifts in broad generalities of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), but more often, they show up in the specific lives and personalities of our loved ones living with autism.
In this blog post, I suggest some of the incredible things to be thankful for when it comes to autism. ABA Connect also offers a FREE Printable, 7 Awesome Things About Individuals with Autism.
As parents and caregivers, we can choose to celebrate the goodness right in front of us. So, let’s dive in and discover and rediscover the beauty within the spectrum.
Being thankful for the awesome parts of autism
Although each individual with autism is unique, some generalities may resonate with you. As you read, note your gratitude for some of these incredible ASD-related traits.
Thankful for the unique perspectives of children with autism
Children with autism have a remarkable way of seeing the world. They often have a unique perspective that can offer fresh insights and a different way of approaching life. Their attention to detail and ability to focus intensely on specific interests can lead to incredible strengths in mathematics, music, art, or science. Embracing and nurturing these strengths can open up a world of opportunities.
If your child’s interest is more niche and less applicable to everyday life, try not to be discouraged. Each individual’s particular interests contribute to making them a wonderfully unique and interesting person. That’s something to be thankful for and appreciate!
Thankful for the unconditional love and authentic connections of children with autism
One of the most beautiful things about autism is the capacity for unconditional love and authentic connections. Children with autism often display a genuine and pure form of love, devoid of judgment or societal expectations. Their love is unconditional, accepting others for who they truly are.
In the same way that our children love us unconditionally, by nature of who they are, they teach us to love fully and completely with no conditions in return. They teach us the value of acceptance. This unconditional acceptance is one of the things that I’m most thankful for in my relationship with my son. Living with the reality of unconditional love for my son day in and day out has completely changed my perspective on what it means to be loved and accepted for who you are, not based on what you do.
Thankful for the beauty of celebrating small victories
In the world of autism, small victories are a BIG deal. No matter how seemingly small, each milestone achieved is a cause for thankfulness and celebration. From learning a new word to mastering a self-help skill, these achievements remind us of our children’s progress and their determination. By recognizing and celebrating these successes, we cultivate a sense of gratitude and motivation to continue supporting their growth.
Each of our children is different. What some will accomplish, others won’t. So, instead of stretching for goals beyond what our kids can do right now. We can acknowledge and celebrate their gains, however incremental, in the moment. Sometimes, it helps when others can reflect these achievements back to us because we live them daily.
Thankful for the ever-expanding ability for empathy and compassion
Living with autism provides a unique opportunity to expand our empathy and compassion. As we navigate the challenges and triumphs alongside our children, we develop a deep understanding of their experiences and challenges. This heightened empathy not only impacts our relationship with our child with autism but also extends to the way we interact with others. We become more compassionate and understanding towards all individuals, fostering a more inclusive and accepting community.
Thankful for a supportive community
The autism community is a vibrant and supportive network of individuals who understand and empathize with our journey. We can connect with other parents and caregivers who share similar experiences through support groups, online forums, and local organizations.
ABA Connect offers community, too. Whether it be through the therapists who provide care to your child or the fellow parents you meet at the clinic, you know that you are not walking this journey alone.
Having a community that provides a safe space for sharing stories, seeking advice, and finding solace is something to be thankful for to be sure.
Embracing the Journey
Raising a child with autism requires immense strength and resilience. Our challenges as parents and caregivers can sometimes be overwhelming, but they also allow us to grow. Through the highs and lows of this journey, we learn to adapt, persevere, and discover strengths we never knew we had. That’s something I’m also grateful for!
By embracing the positive aspects of autism and focusing on gratitude, we can navigate this journey with hope, love, and appreciation for the incredible individuals our children are becoming.
If you need a reminder to post on your fridge or bathroom mirror. Please print this handout, 7 Awesome Things About Autism, available for free!
Let’s celebrate the beauty within the spectrum and be thankful for the extraordinary gifts that autism brings into our lives!
Let us know what you are grateful for this year. If you have any questions or comments about ABA therapy, please leave them below. The team at ABA Connect is happy to help answer your questions.
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If you are interested in a positive, play-based approach to ABA, contact ABA Connect.
Please note that while I am a consultant writing on behalf of ABA Connect, my child is not a current client. The views and experiences shared in this blog post are entirely from a parent’s perspective. I aim to provide informative content and insights based on my personal experiences as well as interviews conducted with the staff at ABA Connect.