April is Autism Awareness month. For those of you who do not know, I am a mother of a child with autism. What a tremendous learning opportunity it has been for me. I cannot say that I have always had this mind set. When L was diagnosed with autism at the age of two, I thought that my world had ended. But as it often the case, the world does not end and life continues on.
Now that I have adjusted to the idea, and attempted to educate myself on it as best I could, the task of raising a son with a disability is not as daunting as it once was. The morning period is over and I have moved on to acceptance and adjustment. Now I can find joy in the many miracles I have seen taking place in L’s life. I can appreciate the progress he has made, no matter how slow and tedious it has been. I can thank God that today was better than yesterday and yesterday was better than the day before.
Sounds corny maybe, but I think of the movie What About Bob? Not only because it is so dang funny, but there is some comfort in the phrase “baby steps”. When you have taken so many baby steps, you begin to see how far a baby step can take you. I would never have asked for a child with a disability, but there are moments when I see the province in it. I see how strong it has made me, and how much I have learned. So while there have been many moments of discouragement and sadness, I believe it has helped me be a better person.
L brings my family so much joy. And we are able to laugh with him and enjoy his quirks and oddities with a sense of humor. We see how others are drawn to him and the positive effects he has had on their lives as well. We glory in his triumphs and do the best we can with his setbacks. And surely this is what life is about. Doesn’t matter how slow the progress is, just that there is progress. This is a good thing for all of us to remember, not only those who may have mental or physical limitations but for all of us who are human.
Next week, Wednesday the 17th, I will be appearing on the program Fresh Living on KUTV to discuss my experiences with my son's autism. I hope you will join me! It will air on television at 1:00 PM in the afternoon.