What’s the most rewarding part of parenting a child with #Autism?

What’s the most rewarding part of parenting a child with #Autism? It’s a pretty straightforward question that I would love for you to answer, as honestly as possible.

For me personally, the most rewarding part is how my kids have taught me to view the world.  I don’t take things for granted and I completely appreciate the little things in life. 

Now it’s your turn. 

What’s the most rewarding part of raising a child with #Autism?

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mjonquil13

I would have to say that my son communicating with us non-verbally. It amazes me how well we can do all this without words

Steph204

mjonquil13 YES! Oh my, yes! My daughter taught me, through her own ceaseless ways of conveying her thoughts and emotions non-verbally to be conscious of how much of myself I project into/onto the world non-verbally and to behave responsibly. Aren’t they amazing teachers???

Steph204

She made me more human. She made me kinder, because I had to be. She made me more patient, because I had to be. She made me smarter, because I had to be. She made me stronger, because I had to be. I thought I was just fine, nearly perfect, until her, and I then I found all my weaknesses and flaws SO fast and had to get my shit together or crumble under the stress and the necessity. She raised me. She taught me that my life was not about me, it was about the person who had the greatest need. She taught me to see the world through autistic, obsessive eyes that missed nothing. Eyes that were delighted and hypnotized by repetitive movements and flashes of light, strings of beads, sets of keys, spinning beads and twinkling sunlight through leafy trees. My beautiful girl. Who told me that when leaves rustled on their branches they were “dancing”, and when the wind pushed them along the ground in the Fall they were “running” and “spinning” until they were “dizzy” because she only understood what it was to be human and thought everything that moved, everything in nature, was also human. (Bless her for that) When it rained she said “the sky is crying” and it’s “sad outside today”, hoping “the trees will feel better tomorrow”. No one taught her that or could make her understand the world differently. Not in all her nearly 16yrs. Nor did we really want to. Yes…we got crapped on too, and slapped and bitten too, but there was no malice, no intent. Each time she was in a state of misery beyond herself. It’s not that hard to take when we truly grasp that it is easier to be us than it is to be them, that we will always have a greater share of peace of mind and soul on this earth than they will overall, that our futures are brighter and safer and easier than theirs. I LOVE how she taught me to see the world and the cool, shiny, flickering bits of light to be found everywhere. As an artist, she is still my Muse even though I buried her in August 2006. I put into my mixed media art what I know she would find interesting and use metallic paints so the textures in the pieces are highlighted and the whole piece seems to change as you move around it – just as she used to move around my work looking at it from all angles – and the piece changes as the light source moves. Everything moves and changes. That’s life. She taught me that. “Nothing gold can stay.” That’s sad, but also beautiful and precious. A gift. These autistic children are gifts, and terrors, and gifts.

lostandtired

thefuzzycabbage y2daddy @Julie Dunbar Kellenberger I wanted to say reply to you @y2daddy.  You make a very, very important point.  Not everyone is going to have a rewarding experience when it comes to Autism..  I completely support what you said because while my situation is likely different, I have had periods of time where things were so much more challenging and if asked if I could find a positive, I would have had my head explode.  It get you man and I appreciate your honesty.

y2daddy

If there is any rewarding part I haven’t seen it. I’ve been beaten up, crapped on, had thousands of dollars of damage done to the house we rent, had my elderly parents attacked, gotten 4-5 hours of sleep for umpteen nights in a row, had to give up any kind of a social life because my wife can’t handle my son and daughter alone (both are on the spectrum)…. If there is any reward it’s that they are my kids and I love them, not because I have to, because I can’t not love them. But a rewarding part of autism? Nonexistent for me.

thefuzzycabbage

y2daddy Wow, you sure were blunt and honest. I’m sorry you feel that way and hopefully things will eventually get a little better for you. I look at it this way: Everyone’s experiences are obviously going to differ, with some having it worse than others, but circumstances can only bring you down as much as you let them. Raising a child with special needs is difficult. Yes, our kids can throw some hellacious tantrums, destroy our homes and property, keep us up at all hours of the night, have us running all over the place, etc. It’s not always going to be a piece of cake, but the truth of the matter is being a parent, even to NT kids, can be difficult, trying, and sometimes frustrating. Of course it’s more challenging raising a special needs child, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that if our children were “normal” it would be a perfect, pleasant walk in the park. This is something I always try to keep in mind when my son gets a bit out of control.

y2daddy

thefuzzycabbage y2daddy If there is anything autism has done for me, it has made me less tolerant of the masks we put up to keep our feelings hidden. I don’t have the patience for that stuff anymore. I probably should relearn a little of it and be more considerate of others feelings.

Steph204

y2daddy I hear you. I do. It’s hard, almost impossible to enjoy our children, any children whether typical or atypical, if it’s all struggle and no play, no time-outs for the adults to refresh and come back to the ones we love.

y2daddy

Oh, I enjoy my children. I love them tremendously and would take a dozen bullets for them. But the cause of that joy isn’t the autism, but just simply that they’re my children. I have rewarding moments, and joyful moments, and playful moments. They make laugh, and smile, and beam with pride. But the autism is the cause of none of that.

Steph204

y2daddy Good answer. I like people like you. I can identify what aspects of my daughter were enhanced by the brain damage and subsequent autism caused by it, but she was very much still her own person with the personality born to her; she was not a “condition”. Teachers and teachers aids who insisted on trying, year after year, to teach her according to what ‘someone with her condition’ would learn/like ran into a brick wall (and usually got a couple of teeth marks too) because they couldn’t/wouldn’t see her as a person with a mind and a will of her own. She was born healthy but became brain damaged at the age of 3months as a result of surviving SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) Her fever was brought down to 107 after a cold bath. Autism is a common result of brain injury. Having a sister beside her, 2yrs younger, it’s impossible not to notice what aspects of her were autism/brain damage-related and which were obviously her personality. The combination of autism/brain damage actually *did* make her a very unique individual who experienced the world around her in interesting but sometimes unfortunate ways. Because so many parts of her brain were damaged she had to build up and use neural pathways we normally don’t rely on which forced a unique input/output of information with her environment. A lot like living with someone looped on acid, to put it crudely. Fun and funny as hell most of the time, if you’ve got the sense of humour for it (we did) but the shtick got old when you were sick, late, tired, or just plain wore out.

thefuzzycabbage

Pretty much what you said. I think parenting a child with autism changes one’s perspective and thus allows them to appreciate the little things most people normally take for granted. Because of the challenges our children face, no accomplishment is too small to celebrate. Accomplishments people might not usually think of as a big deal do become a big deal. I think it also makes us more observant. We notice things about our children that other parents might not notice about their own, so we are better able to appreciate every little detail of our children’s personalities. And when the times are really good, we are more thankful for it.

Julie Dunbar Kellenberger

For this aunt, it’s the amazing amount of unconditional love I receive from my niece. She’s truly my angel on earth!

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