Home > In Their Own Words > In Their Own Words – Autism: A Blessing

In Their Own Words – Autism: A Blessing

This “In Their Own Words” is by Joy Smith. She is a mother of four, and her son Adrian was diagnosed with autism in April of 2006. To read more, check out Joy’s Autism Blog.

Have you ever wished you could turn back time? Not say that stupid thing? Not accidentally cut your finger while cutting things while cooking? Not slipped on the ice? Not hurt someone’s feelings? Not yelled at your kids? Not got in that fender bender? Oh how I’ve wished I could turn back time!

I was talking about this to my mom one night. She fell of a ladder at work last November and broke her leg pretty bad. She had to have surgery on Thanksgiving last year to repair the damage. She told me how she wished she could turn back the clock and been more careful on that ladder.

In so many instances it seems like that would be so awesome. And while we’re at it not only would a “rewind” button for life but a “volume,” “fast forward,” and “mute” button would be nice , don’t even get me started on that!

But all this strange combination of events that add up our lives shape who we are. All these little or not so little things shape us, mold us into hopefully better people then we once were.

On Facebook my friend had posted a challenge to write one thing we were thankful for from now until Thanksgiving. I thought it was a great idea and took part. The very first thing that I thought of to be thankful for was autism. It has shaped me into a better mother, a better woman.

Autism teaches compassion.

Autism teaches acceptance.

Autism teaches patience.

I am a work in progress and the gift of autism that God gave me is shaping me, molding me everyday. And I am so thankful for that! People may pity other people for having a child with any sort of special needs but honestly, at times, I pity people that don’t get to experience this!

“In Their Own Words” is a series within the Autism Speaks blog which shares the voices of people who have autism, as well as their loved ones. If you have a story you wish to share about your personal experience with autism, please send it to editors@autismspeaks.org. Autism Speaks reserves the right to edit contributions for space, style and content. Because of the volume of submissions, not all can be published on the site.


  1. Barbara
    March 17, 2011 at 9:57 am

    Wow I love this and it is so true. I think it also made me a better person too!

  2. Pam Cranmer
    March 17, 2011 at 10:16 am

    How well put, I really enjoy reading the blogs. I am also blessed with my little guy with Autism, he is a joy.

  3. Angela Moore
    March 17, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    So what if you consider yourself a person to have already possessed these virtues? Now what? I would turn back time if it meant my child with autism would not have to struggle to communicate, make friends, understand things, learn new things and experience a joyful and fulfilled life of planning and making her own choices just like I do!

    • Kim
      March 19, 2011 at 6:07 am

      You got that right. If I could go back and figure out what happened to make my now not-so-little guy wake up one morning with the blank look we all know so well and change it so that I would now be in the time of life where he knows it all and Mom doesn’t know squat unless he’s trying to get the car, I would do it Groundhog Day style and live it every day until I got it right. I have learned a lot of “lessons” on this road, I think every parent does no matter what your child’s challenge. Most of them have been about how cruel people can be.
      I don’t view autism as a gift, and if he could talk to you, my son would tell you it sucks. I do know that God didn’t give either of us more than we can handle and we’ll take it one day and one hurdle at a time.

    • Grapes
      March 19, 2011 at 12:45 pm

      There is always room for improvement in anyone. Learning and self-improvement are lifelong. Also, do not give up on your child. There are things I am just now figuring out in my forties.

  4. Jemima Aslana
    March 18, 2011 at 4:55 am

    How wonderful to view your child as something given to you to teach you basic humane skills. I pity your child. I wish for you child that you will learn to see them as a human being rather than as a teaching device.

    But I suppose that’s what we are, we autistics. We’re put here to be used by you NTs for your own betterment. We’re not *really* humans. Makes me sick to my stomach.

    • Barbara
      March 18, 2011 at 9:19 am

      Sorry Jemima, but I don’t think that was the point she was trying to get across. We have a lot of love and patience to begin with and our children just adhance it and teach us so much more. Our children are our life and we would do anything for our kids. It’s just that our special needs children teach us a different view of life. To break things down into smaller things. My son learns differently then his sister and he is just so loving and forgiving of people. He sees everyone as special and loves EVERYONE. He is also very honest. It is part of the social skills that make them see the world differently. He doesn’t worry about people judging him or what they will think if he does something differently. It just makes them more special. No one is happy that their special needs child has to struggle every day as they do and that things are more harder for them. So i am very sorry that this article made you so upset. She was just speaking of some positives things instead of all the negative. You have to be in our shoes (which im sure is very hard for you to understand) to know how hard the experience is of bringing up a special needs child. It isn’t easy and we struggle every day learning how we can help our children out even more. We have to learn what works and what doesn’t. I had to struggle to get my son in an appropriate school. Now in his new school he is learning and his self esteem has gone way up. I am so proud of him. I praise him every day and as much as i can. I hope this helps you.

      • Jemima Aslana
        March 18, 2011 at 1:39 pm

        You know what?

        I constantly get all that shit about how hard it is to parent an autistic child. I don’t doubt that it can be difficult, ut you know what’s more difficult? BEING that autistic child, which a lot of people tend to forget.

        I WAS that autistic child. I AM that autistic adult, and when people speak of us as learning experiences and whatnot, you’re also speaking of me.

        Guess what? I’m not a learning experience. I’m living, breathing, human being, and it hurts a LOT to be ‘summed up’ as a learning experience put here to teach you something.

        I have to be in YOUR shoes? Oh I understand your shoes well enough, but I have plenty to manage with my own shoes. And it would be a grand thing indeed if parents of autistic children could sometimes experience OUR shoes. But the kind of attitudes expressed here is exactly what’s barring that, because our shoes are so seldom viewed as important at all.

        And you pretty much just told me so. Telling the autistics themselves that if only we tried being the non-autistic parents, then we’d know what hardship is. Is this your ‘compassion’ for the situation of an autistic person? Then I wouldn’t want to see your disregard.

      • Grapes
        March 19, 2011 at 1:01 pm

        Goodness, Jemima, please put aside the bitterness and negative spin that was entirely uncalled for.

        I am an autistic adult as well, and my parents were downright abusive – and I didn’t realize until grown that I didn’t deserve abuse. (In defense of my parents, this was the sixties through eighties. No one knew what to do with me. Autism wasn’t seen as a possibility at the time.) But the actions of my parents and many teachers were overall indefensible any way you look at it.

        Anyway, my point is that I understand not liking to be told to put oneself in the non-autistic parent’s shoes. I know I am much more compassionate (and parental!) than my parents ever were, regardless of my hardwiring, and I know this was the case even before I became a parent myself. I adore teaching and I especially adore teaching special needs children. I cried myself to sleep many nights when I was a teenager who was seen as retarded and thus not allowed to babysit. Some people are just born for motherhood, and I believe I’m one of those people.

        My own children, oh, I hope they will always have better lives their mother’s. Four of my five were born in the 2000’s, a much more hopeful decade than the decades before. I am so grateful for this. My youngest daughter is so very sensory-defensive I cry, not because I selfishly want a perfect child, but because I want her to experience happiness in place of pain. Autism and all special needs makes for hard times for loving parents (and anyone who truly loves children) because children’s pains are parent’s pains. I don’t deny that there are parents who wallow in self-pity and parents like mine who tried to beat their kids into normalcy, but there are so many loving people who have been made all the more loving by caring for smaller people.

      • Dave Beukers
        March 21, 2011 at 11:23 am

        Jemima, I’m also gonna jump in the fray as another fellow autistic adult, and I’m gonna say this is an opportunity for you to learn how to not make mountains out of molehills as we are all wont to do from time to time. I view all relationships as learning experiences, and though I’m not a parent I’d imagine the relationship you have with your child is a learning experience x 10, autistic or no. I think “learning experience” is quite a step up in thinking for a lot of parents, especially new parents who’ve been taken by the doctor’s “oh they’ll never talk again” scare-speak.

        All this stuff here at Autism Speaks, from the blog to the walks to everything, is really for parents. What good does a walk do an autistic child? None whatsoever, at least not in the immediate sense. I’m a committee member on a walk and I fully acknowledge this. Feel-good inspiration is ultimately of little value to us.

        So why would I be a committee member on something I say serves us no purpose? Why would I pay attention to fundraisers and blogs and things? Because it serves a purpose for the PARENTS. We are not the only ones who suffer the stigma, the parents do too. And when you can empower a parent, when you can salve their suffering, the goodness bleeds over into their parenting and you indirectly do wonders for the kid.

        So don’t knock this so hard, Jemima. I’m with you in that there’s a long way to go before we get real understanding. We gotta be patient. Step by step.

    • Jen
      March 21, 2011 at 6:31 pm

      All children, autistic or neurotypical, teach us things. My autistic son does make me a better person, and I hope I will do the same for him, as well as my typical daughter. This is one of the rewards of parenting.

      You say it is difficult to be an autistic child, and that is precisely why it is difficult to be the parent of an autistic child. No parent ever wants to see their child having a hard time, emotionally, physically, or educationally.

      • Tina
        March 22, 2011 at 4:19 pm

        That is a wonderful truth!

  5. kim abu-arqoub
    March 18, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    Wow- what an amazing outlook! I hope I can aspire to that thinking…..I, do, know that patience is definitely something that keeps improving, in me…..it has to!

  6. John
    March 18, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    I don’t believe the writer is suggesting harvesting children so that she can make herself a better person. Instead I believe she is talking how the challenges and heartache a parent experiences from raising a special needs child has made her a better person. Apparently she has decided to let this experience make her a better person and has embraced what life has given her instead of crying about it and feeling sorry for herself. Having someone you love, especially a child that you would die for, struggle on a daily basis can do this to you.

  7. JULIE
    March 18, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    You are absolutely correct. My daughter has taught me so much over the last 17 years of her life. I even went so far as to work with developmentally disabled adults at a group home and now take care of a lady with cancer. If somebody would have told me 20 years ago that I would be doing this, I would have said they were crazy. My daughters speech therapist and I were fundamental in starting a respite organization in our county for families with disabled children. I used to be a quiet, unassuming individual, she has made me a fighter and an advocate for disabled people. Wouldn’t and couldn’t have done it without her in my life!!!

  8. Chantal
    March 18, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    I get that she is trying to “look at the positive”, but I don’t think that I could ever be “thankful” for autism. My daughter has SO MANY difficulties and cries to me EVERYDAY to make her “better”. She’s only four, but even SHE knows that her life didn’t need to be this hard.

    • Tonya
      March 20, 2011 at 7:13 am

      I think that maybe the writer didn’t quite phrase it correctly. I agree that looking at the positive is wonderful but being thankful for autism is a little odd sounding. It’s like being thankful for cancer or something. What I am thankful for is what autism has taught me and for the traits it has brought out in me. Maybe that’s what the writer meant as well. My son brings out the best in me every day and I am thankful for him (with or without his autism).

  9. Laura Corddry
    March 18, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    I think your blog was well written and stated the way that many parents of a child with autism.

  10. March 18, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Compassion,acceptance and patience are attained by parents of an austistic person.True I would say from our own experience.It is interesting to read this article which looks different and positive compared to ‘what to do’ type submissions.Somebody told me that God had chosen us to parent an austistic child as we are more capable and protective to the special needs of an austistic child.

  11. March 18, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    I loved the blog, I personally dont think any of those things came “naturally” for me, but when my daughter Emily was diagnosed with Autism it forced me to be more patient, have more compassion, and be more accepting for what it is and make the best of it. I think the people that had negative things to say still have a chip on their shoulders, and thats ok too! patience…. to accept;), compassion for those who havent got it yet!

  12. Juan
    March 18, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    As a father of two sons in the Spectrum I agree that Autism teaches you patience, compassion, and acceptance among many other things. However, it is hard to accept that it is gift that God gave anyone to shape and mold them everyday. I cannot be thankful if indeed God impose this on my children and my family. I cannot pity others for not having to live this experience, but I pity those who do not know how to be parents and be grateful for the children they have and the opportunity to guide and mold them every day of their lives. I celebrate any parent that take care of their children no matter what the circumstances.

  13. Antoinette Jmes
    March 18, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    I am the mother of nine year old girl diagnosed with, who is now in main stream prep school scoring in the top three. Seven years ago I didn’t dream we would be year.Limited vocabulary and poor social skills initially forced me to ask “why me”. Every day when I go to school Students Knows whose mother I am, even parents too.I am more patient with children especially my own. I have also learn that children living with a disability have the same basic need as the others. love!Love!and just Love. They are not the ones that change to fit into society, the parent change and then we change our immediate surrounding. its Awesome!
    My child taught me what I am made of and made for.

  14. Carol McCullough
    March 18, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    I’m really sorry that anyone, including the person with autism, would try to put a negative spin on Joy’s article. Of course she doesn’t look upon her child as a “teaching tool” to make her more humane – she was blessed with her child and as a result she has become a more compassionate person. What could possibly be negative about that? You have no more cause to pity her child than she does to pity you – rather she would love you for the person you are.
    She is a beautiful person and a wonderful mother who simply loves, and is proud of, all of her children.

  15. danielle
    March 18, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    my husband and i were just talking about this the other day. he asked, how will be tell his younger sis one day?? it does make us better people, i’ve heard that from so many. i sat in on a siblings panel at a workshop, each of them said they were better, chose friends more carefully and appreciated so much more. if we took away autism, we probably wouldn’t have the same son we love so dearly today. autism helped make him that way. and each milestone or positive moment is so much sweeter because of his struggles. i pray that one day others will not get a diagnosis, but if they do to make the most of it and don’t give up fighting or hope.

  16. Donna
    March 18, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    My grandson is almost 4….this world is a better place because of him…I am a better person…noticing all the little things that God made!

  17. March 18, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    You are so right! I am so blessed by my little girl being in this world. It MOST definitely slowed my pace and redirected my purpose for living. You can forget the real reason for your existence by the bills, the 9 to 5, the hustle and bustle, and our own SELFIHNESS. To see how very hard these kids try to communicate and seeing their personal victories and loses, really grounds me. We all need to gain much more knowledge about Autism. We have only scratched the surface of learning about these little geniuses.

  18. Stephanie
    March 18, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    How true these words are! My youngest son who is almost 10 has autism and in the early years, I was always in “fix it” mode. Around age 5 is when I started realizing how many blessings he has brought to us because of his autism. My entire family I know has learned so much from him. It isn’t always easy, but that is just part of life. I will always work with him to reach his God given potential, but at the same time I cherish him and each accomplishment so much more than I ever would have had he not had autism.

  19. Kelly
    March 18, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    My son has Autism. He looks and sees things differently because of it and I get to see that through him. It is the greatest blessing as a parent. I would not get to experience that with a child that doesn’t have Autism and I feel so special and proud to be chosen to be the parent of such a wonderful child! It isn’t always easy but those Ah Ha moments make it worth every minute!

  20. Kelly
    March 19, 2011 at 8:46 am

    I can see the writer saying she has accepted and embraced the diagnosis of autism because of how it was changed her perspective ….I can not see how anyone is ‘thankful’ for a diagnosis of autism. I am not thankful that my son can not speak or that he will never live independently, get married, and have children of his own. I am not thankful that he is misunderstood and is teased. I am not thankful that he beats on his little brother with no notice and his brother cries. I do believe that his diagnosis will reshape the people we will all become. I even believe it will make us stronger people …but am I thankful for that? NO

  21. pamie
    March 19, 2011 at 9:58 am

    THIS REALLY BEAUTIFUL. THIS REALLY TOUCHED ME. I NEVER THOUGHT OF AUTISM THIS WAY. YOU ARE RIGHT, IT TEACHES COMPASSION,ACCEPTANCE,AND PATIENCE. THEY ARE SPECIAL PEOPLE. I WOULDN’T TRADE THEM FODR ANYTHING. THANK YOU FOR THAT INSIGHT. GOD BLESS YOU.

  22. Melissa Cruz-Skaggs
    March 19, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Very true! I often reflect on how Autism has put things into perspective for me as to what’s important in life and what’s not. In many ways, I feel Autism has saved me from myself as I too wish I could go back in time and delete certain instances. I now appreciate every moment of life and as you don’t want pity from others, I don’t either. I just wish people could be more understanding and accepting to all those that are different. What defines different anyway? Aren’t we all different? We are all vulnerable, anyone at anytime can become disabled or ill and it’s important to keep in mind that the only true disability is ignorance.

  23. paul j. ciccolo
    March 19, 2011 at 11:33 am

    Autism Speaks

    Did you ever hear
    Autism Speak?
    Sometimes it’s a roar.
    Sometimes it’s a peep.
    It could be just a movement
    That’s their voice.
    They use a grimace or a smile
    and they hope you comply
    with what wish within them lies.
    What does each look, posture
    and sound mean?
    Love me , hug me or
    just leave me be.
    Friends and family know each
    sign and sigh
    of their loved ones.
    For words aren’t always in
    Autism Speaks.

    From them you can acquire all you need.
    But you must have no fear of quiet air.
    We learn from them,
    when their strengths we can construe
    They live each day and moment anew.
    We could learn to copy their way to view.
    Learn to see things from a different purview.
    Appreciate the small things missed most days.
    The posture the smile, the look in their eyes.
    Could mean the same for you
    As Autism Speaks.
    It may confuse to begin,
    but these kids are closer to God then will be in the end..
    So AUTISM does speak
    and we should hear,
    “Be open to all that’s near.”
    paul ciccolo

  24. March 19, 2011 at 10:27 pm

    Being Joy’s husband I can say that she shares the sames fears that I do. Will our son be independent? How will he let us know he has been hurt or abused? Who will take care of him when we die? The list goes on.

    It is because of our fears for my son that I know my wife would never wish any of our children to be on the spectrum. However wishing is moot and just like all other parents with babes on the spectrum we are left with few options of how we can let this experience shape us.

    Joy chose to make the best of this situation and did so long before I was able. Her positive outlook has not only radiated to me but it has also worked its way into my son and our other children. It is funny how our perspectives often effect those we love; be it positive or negative. I thank God that I get to share Adrian with my wife.

  25. March 20, 2011 at 7:23 am

    Obviously, all you parents that feel this is a “blessing” do not have an older child with an autism spectrum disorder. My 26 year old son has Aspergers Syndrome and I would do anything on G-d’s green earth for him to be a neurotypical. Once your son has suffered the disappointments, both in friendships, relationships, bullying, lack of appropriate employment opportunities, and you along right with him, I’m sure you will change your tune. Autism a “blessing”? I beg to differ!!!!!

    • Grapes
      March 20, 2011 at 7:49 pm

      I am 46 with Asperger’s syndrome and many negative life experiences in the categories you mentioned & more. HOWEVER, I believe my life has made me a kinder and more sympathetic individual. I wouldn’t trade that. Perhaps your son could find volunteer work that interests him, and eventually find employment from there.

      • Dave Beukers
        March 21, 2011 at 1:01 pm

        Grapes, can I say you’re awesome?

      • Grapes
        March 25, 2011 at 3:40 pm

        Can I blush?

  26. Candi
    March 20, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    This is 100% true. I love that you wrote that! Thank you so much.

  27. Dawn
    March 21, 2011 at 9:33 am

    True, having both children with Autism had forced me to improve these issues within myself. But by no means is it a blessing especially since it is at the expense of my children who are both struggling and suffering in so many ways.

    • candis
      March 23, 2011 at 6:50 pm

      My daughter tells me so many times how sorry she is to be autistic.She sees herself as being less than when it comes to talking and understanding.I don’t question God but I hurt for my beautiful daughter.

  28. Tara
    March 21, 2011 at 10:02 am

    See, I don’t feel that autism has made me more patient. In fact, quite the opposite. I’m more easily frustrated with ALL three of my children. With my son, I do things for him that he can do, because I don’t have the patience of him asking me for the millionth time how his socks are to go on or which foot his shoe is to go on. Right now he is in this phase of asking, “And then what?” ALL DAY LONG…. even when it is time for bed, I’ll tell him that it is time for bed, he will ask, “And then what?” If I answer, “You need to go to sleep,” he’ll ask again, “And then what?” Until I get so frustrated that I tell him to be quiet or go to sleep or something like that.

    • March 21, 2011 at 10:48 am

      lol… Tara.. I am going through a very similar phase with “why”. Try to remember that every kid goes through this phase and that repetitiveness is part of the learn process for EVERY kid. With our kids, it’s magnified, yes.

      For myself, while I do get frustrated, it’s now very easy for me to keep it in check, bring myself back from getting crazy, and turn it into a loving and learning experience. I have to let go of a LOT. I am an efficiency lover and when I see my boy child doing things in a convoluted way, it really irks me.. but I’ve learned to just let him do it his way so that he learns how to do it, period. Then, when he’s comfortable with, say, putting on his socks, THEN I can tweak it here and there so that he can do it more proficiently…. Mind you, at six years old, he’s still learning… These will be our nostalgic moments… well, at least for me.

    • Kim
      March 21, 2011 at 9:59 pm

      Mine is 16. It’s either the Spanish Inquisition (which no one expects!) or a game of charades. Sounds like? First letter? How many words? Can you finger spell it? (my son hears just fine, but 14 years ago because he could not be startled, they told me he was deaf, so I learned to sign)
      I am not patient, and I never will be. What I do use a lot of is humor. A lot of what happens with him is funny-outsiders won’t laugh because it’s not nice to laugh at the “special” kid, but there are moments where I can get upset and discuss the whole thing with God,or I can laugh, throw up my hands in surrender, and move on with my day. I have not learned, patience or tolerance, and I damn sure haven’t learned compassion. I had that before. My child is a blessing. Both of them are, the normal and the not so normal. The autism is not a blessing to *anyone*.

      • Juan
        March 22, 2011 at 9:23 pm

        Kim, I agree with you that autism is not a blessing to anyone. There are many stories to autism of trials and tribulations, of joy, of precious moments, of triumph, and conquer, but make no mistake, is not a blessing.

  29. March 21, 2011 at 10:35 am

    Jemima, what experiences must you have had to take on the position you have with your comment. To believe that us, “NT’s”?? (I don’t even know what that means), are “using” our children for our own betterment. I am blown away. I am still trying to understand the place that idea is coming from. Let me clarify, first, that every person in the human race is a teaching tool through our very interaction with another individual. So, YES, I am COMFORTED by knowing that my experiences, positive as well as negative, will be a teaching device, as you put it, for someone else. That knowledge makes the suffering/joy worthwhile. Doesn’t that give it purpose and value?

    For myself, and I’m sure the parents writing and commenting here, we are not “using” our kids for our own benefit. In learning, we are becoming better mothers and fathers. In learning, we not only become better parents, but we become better human beings. My child was not diagnosed with autism until five years old, but as an infant, he taught me how to be a better person every day.

    “Basic humane skills?” Yes, I agree, but no one, not even you, was born with these skills, maybe we are born with the potential to have these skills, but all skills are LEARNED, or at the very least HONED by practice. If we, never in our lives, had the impetuce to practice these skills, how are they ever to emerge and become a vital part of our makeup? I am new to the world of autism, but are not autistic individuals born without the innate empathy necessary to feel compassion for people who are not a part of their inner circle, like their family members? Don’t autistic individuals need to learn this? I could be terribly off the mark, and I apologize if I am.

  30. Angela Ferreira
    March 21, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Wow – it is interesting to read the reaction to this post. I can really see both points of view. I think that all children are gifts from God and that every child teaches us many things. Certainly as a parent of a child with autism I have learned to be more patient (still learning to be better at this daily), more accepting and to be more compassionate. I don’t pity parents who do not get to experience raising a child with autism – but I do know what Joy means. Some experiences in our family other people will just never “get” – but there is a flip side to that – other families will experience things that we will just never “get”. Neither experience is better than the other, it is just what experience we have been given. I appreciate all the gifts my children have brought to my life but I must say there are days when I find autism to be a hard road to travel and of course there are days we celebrate the forward progress despite the struggles. Thank you for sharing your life stories – it really helps me to not feel so alone.

    • Juan
      March 22, 2011 at 9:25 pm

      Angela. other than the part about children be God’s gift (specially speaking about autistic children), I hartly agree with your post. Nicely put.

  31. Felice
    March 21, 2011 at 11:08 am

    I can totally see both sides of this debate. I have been blessed to have two very close people in my family with special needs. First my older sister who by the way turned out to be the most amazing adult. She has had the same job for 20 years! A far cry from what the doctors told my mom in the 70’s. Now my sweet little boy on the spectrum. Is it a challenge and a pain to deal with special needs issues, of course. My son struggles with speech, social interactions and anxiety everyday. I hate that he struggles with these things, and if I could make them go away I would hands down. But on the other hand he is equally awesome. I personally try to forget all the labels and look at the person. Everyone is so special in their own way. My sister and my son are so sweet and do not have one mean bone in their bodies. They do not know how to lie, or cheat, or be deceptive in anyway. So in this respect I learn from them every day. They have taught me to be more patient and at times to just slow down. I also try to surround myself and my son with positive people. And I have to say that people can be pretty awesome. Where I live in NJ everyone is so tolerant of autism. I have never had anyone say or do anything negative. The schools are doing such a great job now with a “anti-bully” campaign. So I find a lot of the kids are cool. So lets all be positive about autism and stop thinking of it as something bad and horrible. It’s simply a just different way to think and live. It’s a challenge like everything else in life. And I have to say “Some guy” why would you say those horrible things? Every one deserves to be live life, be happy for exactly who they are.

  32. Shersher
    March 21, 2011 at 11:17 am

    At church yesterday our pastor was talking about suffering. God does not make us sick, or suffer in anyway BUT, He does use it to speak to others. People watch to see how you handle things and it can be a great testimony to others.

  33. Edith Keller
    March 21, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    TOTALLY agree!!!! Our youngest was diagnosed with Autism when he was 2 years old and simply it has been a BLESSING!!! It has opened my eyes, heart, and mind to what God has been trying to teach me all my life…but I was not listening very well..

    I was told once at church that I truly must be very special to God, because he fashioned this very “special” child just for me and my husband.. It made my heart/soul very happy to know this, because I was going through a rough patch with our son’s behavior at that time….

    I still to this day let everyone know how truly AMAZING and WONDERFUL God has been in our lives…He has given us a blessing beyond regular blessings… My son and the autism has taught me SO much and helped me to FULLY appreciate and see the miracles that CAN and DO happen everyday…if we only look for them!!!!

  34. Michelle
    March 21, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    My son was just diagnosed a couple of weeks ago. I guess we knew it was coming but it was still a shock to hear. I don’t know that I can say I feel it’s a “blessing” but my son certainly is. He is the most precious thing in my life and I will do everything I can to help him. But, I am sad. I am sad because I know things are going to be difficult for him. And people can be cruel and I won’t always be able to save him from that. I guess I’m still struggling with my own grief and anger. But, I still thank the Lord every day for bringing him into my life.

  35. Jen
    March 21, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    I have learned a lot from parenting both my children – one autistic, one NT. I do not feel “blessed” by autism, but am overjoyed by the love I feel for my son. I have also been fortunate to find a wonderful blogging community, people whom I would not want to give up even if my son somehow no longer had autism.

  36. Melinda
    March 21, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    I choose to look at my son, (6 with mild to moderate autism,) as a blessing from God who just happens to have autism. I am blessed by him every day and he has made me a more compassionate, patient and loving person than I would be without him. I know that he is a blessing to others also!

  37. Kim
    March 21, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    I’m sure it’s been published here ad nauseum, but it seems especially relevant to this thread.

    Erma Bombeck’s “The Special Mother”

    Most women become mothers by accident, some by choice, a few by social pressures and a couple by habit. This year nearly 100,000 women will become mothers of handicapped children. Did you ever wonder how mothers of handicapped children are chosen?

    Somehow I visualize God hovering over earth selecting his instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation. As He observes, He instructs His angels to make notes in a giant ledger.

    “Armstrong, Beth; son. Patron saint…give her Gerard. He’s used to profanity.”

    “Forrest, Marjorie; daughter. Patron saint, Cecelia.”

    “Rutledge, Carrie; twins. Patron saint, Matthew.”

    Finally He passes a name to an angel and smiles, “Give her a handicapped child.”

    The angel is curious. “Why this one God? She’s so happy.”

    “Exactly,” smiles God, “Could I give a handicapped child to a mother who does not know laughter? That would be cruel.”

    “But has she patience?” asks the angel.

    “I don’t want her to have too much patience or she will drown in a sea of self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wears off, she’ll handle it.”

    “I watched her today. She has that feeling of self and independence that is so rare and so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I’m going to give her has his own world. She has to make him live in her world and that’s not going to be easy.”

    “But, Lord, I don’t think she even believes in you.” God smiles, “No matter, I can fix that. This one is perfect -she has just enough selfishness.” The angel gasps – “selfishness? is that a virtue?”

    God nods. “If she can’t separate herself from the child occasionally, she’ll never survive. Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect. She doesn’t realize it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a “spoken word”. She will consider a “step” ordinary. When her child says “Momma” for the first time, she will be present at a miracle, and will know it!”

    “I will permit her to see clearly the things I see…ignorance, cruelty, prejudice….and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life, because she is doing My work as surely as if she is here by My side”.

    “And what about her Patron saint?” asks the angel, his pen poised in mid-air.

    God smiles, “A mirror will suffice.”

    • Juan
      March 22, 2011 at 9:31 pm

      With all due respect, I find this to be so patronizing and incongruent to the idea of a god that is supposed to have made all things to “his image”. I do not find consolation in the idea that a mischivious god decided to “give” anyone or selected one “a handicapped child”. To me that is more like a cruel joke. I would rather blame natural selection for this.

  38. trina
    March 22, 2011 at 11:48 am

    i have a beautiful 10yr old daughter with autism. i love being her mother
    . she has taught me so many things. everyday is a new beginning for her and me. she has made me a better person. i love her dearly and wouldn’t change anything about her.

  39. Tina
    March 22, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    This blog entry by Joy Smith was obviously heartfelt and celebrated the gifts her son has given her. I feel sorry for those of you leaving negative comments about this woman. Joy, many of us choose to look at the blessings of each of our children. Autism is a difficult topic, but we love the unique, basic gifts these children give. What do I mean? Here’s an example: I take my kids to the beach. My oldest (NT) kids are about the mp3 player, magazines/books, boogie board hops in the water, things like that. My son with autism is taking time to look at each shell he finds, the tickling of the sand between your toes, appreciating each wave that rolls over this tummy, and boogie board hops in the water. His sisters notice his actions. All of them have fun. He remind them to stop and smell the saltwater so to speak. He reminds my whole family to enjoy the little things that so many take for granted. Joy, I love your observation. Best to you and your family.

    • Michelle
      March 24, 2011 at 1:30 pm

      Tina,

      My response was not meant as a negative towards Joy. I loved what she had to say. I just can’t quite see the autism as a blessing. It is teaching me a lot and it makes me appreciate my son more than I might have… and I certainly see my son as a blessing! I am, however, still feeling quite a bit of sadness about his diagnosis.

  1. March 18, 2011 at 4:24 pm
  2. March 21, 2011 at 7:18 pm
  3. April 10, 2011 at 11:32 pm

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