Why My Son is Amazing

Have you ever met someone who, just by virtue of being themselves, makes you a better person?

For me, that person is my son, Colin.

Autism used to be my greatest fear for my future, hypothetical, unborn children.  I just knew that I could not handle autism and everything that it entailed.

Then Colin came along.  In his five years, he has taught me more than I could have ever imagined.

Colin is always himself.  He could not care less what others think of him, and I love and admire that about him.

He just turned five, and he had a Little Mermaid cake for his birthday.  He didn’t care if that was “supposed to be a girl cake.”

In a world where we constantly feel judged and worry about what others think of us, Colin is perfectly content just being his amazing self.

He wants to wear his Nana’s beach cover up all summer long?  He does it.

He wants to dance wildly to The Greatest Showman?  He does it and doesn’t care who is watching.

I think he is on to something – just being himself, not caring what the outside world thinks about it.  He does not have to change who he is just to fit into a world that doesn’t always understand him.

He fully embraces who he is, and I just love that about him.

Being Colin’s mom has taught me to never take anything for granted.

For years, I have watched him struggle to communicate.  Wanting something, but not being able to tell me what it is he needs.

Having thoughts, but not being able to express them.  He used to get so frustrated, and it broke my heart.

He started using an AAC device last year, and his world just opened up.

He can now tell us what he wants, he can comment on things, and he can answer questions.

He has recently started to speak words as well, and each word floods my heart with pride, joy, and excitement.   That little “Mama” might seem insignificant to another mom of a five-year-old, but not to me.

I know just how much effort, hard work, determination, learning, and “Mama Prayers” went into that “Mama.”

Colin has taught me about patience.  I have always wanted to do things quickly.

Check things off of my “To-Do” list.  With each developmental milestone that my older son Finley met, I let out a sigh of relief:

“Oh, he’s talking. I don’t need to worry about that one, we can check it off the list.”

With Colin, milestones come later.  Some, we are still waiting on…but that is okay.

He does things in his time, and I could not be any prouder of him when he does accomplish new things.

On this autism journey that we are on together, I am learning that I cannot control when or how things happen.  No amount of rushing or worrying can speed up the process….so I am learning to wait patiently.

Colin has taught me about understanding, acceptance, and advocacy.  He has shown me that everyone, regardless of a diagnosis or not – wants and deserves to be accepted and loved.

As Colin’s mom, it is my place to stand up and fight for this acceptance that I know he deserves.  It is literally my job to fight for my son, and in doing so, I fight for others who are like him.

Colin is not just an autism diagnosis.

He is funny, smart, charming, silly, cuddly, energetic, hard-working and happy.  Autism is just a part of who he is.

All those years ago when I thought I couldn’t handle a child with autism?  Well, I’m so thankful that God saw fit to give me this amazing, awesome little boy.

We just never know what we can do until given the opportunity – Colin has taught me that.

Written by, Deidra Darst

Deidra Darst is a speech language pathologist and serves as the State Director of the Mountaineer Autism Project.  She has two sons, Finley (6) and Colin (5).  Since Colin’s autism diagnosis, autism advocacy, education, and Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC) have become her passion.  She has written two books, most recently a children’s book called “Artie is Awesome,” that explains autism in a way that young children can understand and encourages self love. You can follow herr journey at theslpmom.com.

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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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