By: Annie Eskeldson
Autism Awareness month pounces in like a lion then pads out like a lamb. We didn't do anything special this year. No parties or activities; no blue light bulbs. With two autists at home I'm already very 'aware' especially this month which has been tough, but I'd rather write about what I think is awesome about autism! Here's my list:
- Simplicity. This started with eliminating sensory triggers, needless fanfare, parties, celebration and their expense and extended to people who were not supportive of us. We haven't raced or rushed in years. I love the way autism has helped us learn less is more.
- Honesty. Autism brings an extra special innocence to our kids as they have no motivation to lie.
- Trust. We validate our kids, no matter how quirky they are. They trust us to support them and have their best interest at heart. They know that wherever possible we will put all of our efforts towards their goals.
- Love. Our kids are exceptionally affectionate, kind, and gentle. Today, Ashi tells me often that she loves me. Izaiah who is still non-verbal smiles at me now and is very generous with his hugs and cuddles.
- Potential. The wild spring of possibilities amazes and inspires me daily. I'm newly exploring the depths of Ashi's photographic memory and, in awe, I barely dare to imagine what Izaiah is thinking about as he examines angles, reflections, shadows, and water. Their creativity and imagination is endless and the responsibility to help them develop it is like the weight of the world on my shoulders.
- Faith. Our family is utterly dependent upon Christ for every eyelash flutter and vapor of breath. The trials seem endless, but His provision is deeper. I don't think I know anything more precious than Ashi asking a little girl her own age, "do you know Jesus?" She does so assuredly, confident in her role as a missionary.
- Growth in me. Autism has stretched and refined me in ways I never knew possible. A complete paradigm shift from trying to change our children to changing ourselves as parents instead is what has catapulted our kids to success.
- Family. Autism has made our family strong and resilient. Homeschooling has been a lifesaver for Ashi, who 'the system' labeled as hopeless and is now a straight A student. It has also strengthened and nurtured our sense of family and our dependence upon one another.
- Contentedness. Our kids aren't into the latest fads or gimmicks, they are content with the simplest things. Autism caused them to not like new things in the house as youngsters which was good as we couldn't afford stuff anyway! I love that Ashi can make an adventure out of virtually nothing but God's creation.
- Teachable. My kids with autism have made me teachable. Although I have provided all of their therapy and schooling, I have learned more than I ever imagined.
- Humor. Our kids are so witty, silly, smart, and inventive. We are satisfied with each other’s company and the life given us. Autism freed us from what the world considers important and helped us focus on what God considers to be rich. And when you're that free, you laugh...a lot.
- Happiness. Our kids have autism and they are happy. They are happy to be free to create, to live, to research, to discover, to learn, to be loved, adored, believed in; validated.
So, happy Awetism Awareness Month to you. Better late than never! I know that the years go by fast while the days can be slow and filled with adversity. You're not alone. For every one thing that goes wrong, try to think of five that are right and you can make it through another day.
Annie Eskeldson writes for parents of young autists. She has two of her own and has had a most difficult April coping with illnesses and such with kiddos. Autism sure didn't make it any better...or did it??!! Be sure to write a comment on this post. All persons who comment will have their name put in a hat and one of you will win a complete hardcover set of the Ashi's Gift Series. Join us at http://www.ashisgift.blogspot.com/