Five Reasons Why I’m Thankful for Autism

Most day I could probably write a longer grocery list of why autism is so hard on us and Zachary, my nonverbal child.  If you could make the best life for your child, you would. No questions ask.

If I could ease his troubles and anxiety, I would in a heartbeat.

Autism has significantly changed my life and perspectives on things. I had thought I was a grateful person beforehand, and maybe I was, but looking back it seems far more shallow.

Here is my  “grocery list” of 5 reasons why I’m thankful for Autism:

Learning to live in the moment

My son has no concept of time. He doesn’t think for the future, and things that we have done in the past may seem to have escape him sometimes as well.

When he is in the middle of a meltdown, he doesn’t know that everything will be ok… eventually.

When I leave for work and he cries; he doesn’t understand that I will come back.

When we are in a tickle fight, and we are all laughing, he isn’t thinking about bed time that is around the corner, like I am. He is just thinking about how he wants more tickles and more laughs and more time with with his family.

And that’s living in the moment. He is just there enjoining the laughter, or really feeling all the emotions from a meltdown.

I think most could benefit from really living in the moment instead of thinking about what you could have done differently in the past, and how you plan to change the future that you have no control over. I’m thankful to learn this from my nonverbal 4 year old. Life is better in the moment.

Loving simple things

I didn’t realize how simple Zachary’s needs were until I had my other nuerotypical son, Landon.

When I go to a store with my both my children, Landon will try to put every toy in my shopping cart like it’s super market sweep. Meanwhile, Zachary is content eating his favorite snack and sitting in the shopping cart, taking the atmosphere in.

When we went to the Disney on ice show, Landon wanted the biggest light up toy, but Zachary wanted his dollar fidget toy and was happy stimming with it while watching the show.

Zachary really has a great concept of what he needs versus what he wants, which is something I learned in kindergarten and has seemed to have been lost until now.

Simple is always better and I’m thankful for being taught that again.

Being truthful

Zachary doesn’t sugarcoat anything. You know where you stand with him in that moment. If he doesn’t like something he unapologetically let’s you know.

He will take you to the door if he doesn’t want you in the house, spit out your food if it’s not good, or close the door on you so you don’t come in.  Since we are being honest, I wish I could do the same sometimes as well.

The saying goes “honesty is the best policy” and I agree that I’d rather know the truth then anything less than that. I’m thankful that my son always tells me if he likes my cooking or not. He is my favorite critic!

Learning how to truly be grateful for the small things

This one is very significant. All the things I took for granted before autism. Just basic communication. How someone gets there needs across. I’m so grateful for my son’s communication device and the sign language that he knows.

I believe it’s everyone God given right to be able to communicate their needs to the world.  Before autism I had no idea how hard it could be for some. It is even hard for my son to point his finger to show you what he wants. Imagine that ability, itself, being taking away.

I’m grateful for those small milestone that are met everyday with hard work.

For the friends and family that support us

“It takes a village to raise a child” and with a special needs child it takes a village and some.

I had no idea what would happen once we received our autism diagnosis. You hear stories all the time.

Grandparents that don’t believe that their grandchild has autism, friends that don’t want their kids around your kid anymore because it could be contagious, and society making you hide in the corner of your own house; scared to show your face in public.

I’m thankful that we have amazing and supportive family and friends. I couldn’t have asked for better. We have people in our lives that believe in this little boy, try to understand him and ask questions when they don’t, and are extremely patience with us.

Today and everyday I’m thankful. I’m thankful for everything that encompasses my family throughout this special needs journey.

Written by, Melissa Owsiany

I’m a nurse, wife and mom to two wonderful boys Zachary, who has autism, and Landon.

(Editor’s Note: This article was provided by Melissa Owsiany and is part of Cooper’s, ‘I’m Thankful For You’ Campaign.)

You can still nominate the doctors, therapists, teachers, friends and family that make a difference in your special needs world. Click HERE to learn how!

Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook and subscribe to our newsletter.

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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