Look For the Silver Lining


So many things could be said about the lack of “sunshine” surrounding a diagnosis such as Autism Spectrum Disorder.

It’s labeled as rigid.

And scary.

And lonely.

And most people (including us early on) are uneducated about ASD.

Simply because it is thought to be almost “taboo”.

In our case, we went through all the stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining… all of them). Then you do yourself a favor, and you arm yourself with knowledge.

Suddenly, the sky clears up, and you come around to the “acceptance” stage.

I am sure this Mama doesn’t need to tell you just how heavy sadness is to carry around with you. And for a long time, we were bitter. I’ll never sugar coat. We didn’t understand why our child was faced with such a mountain that would ultimately make life so much more difficult for him.

And on top of that, my husband and I (like people do), went through our grief stages at different times. We argued and cried, and were very quiet at times. AND THAT IS OKAY.

And then… things got brighter. And lighter. And healthier.

We had our heads buried in the “what the heck do we do to help” sand for so long, that we simply didn’t see that the light had always been radiating directly out of our sweet boy.

Bright rays of happiness, and laughter, and joy. And we just knew that this was going to be okay. That HE was going to be okay.

I can’t describe the feeling adequately enough. That “shift” in mindset for us. That weight load decreasing.

But I can say that the worry doesn’t disappear. But it’s much easier to carry together. (Enter “Tribe”, stage left).

Beckett is armed with parents that care for him more than life itself. With parents, and grandparents, and people just like YOU here, that are willing to look past the “differences”, to learn, and see the sunshine.

Now let’s talk “silver lining”.

Beckett doesn’t KNOW that his beautiful brain functions any differently. He just knows who he is. He doesn’t pay mind to people’s cruelty and ridicule.. something that I often wish I could take over for myself. And he does not give a single care in the world what others think of him.

He is truly happy in his own skin, 99% of the time. And that is the most beautiful gift that could ever be bestowed on a person.

You can’t “teach” that.

In total transparency, I now envy my littlest love, many days.

His adventurous and colorful way of looking at life is infectious. And his zero tolerance for unkind opinions (because he pays no mind to them) is refreshing. And I will be forever thankful for that piece.

We could all stand to take note.

Sure, some days are rough. They are cloudy, and gloomy, and “when it rains, it POURS”. But that’s called being human..not “Autism”.

The sunshine, the silver lining, it had always been there. We just weren’t “ready” to look for it just yet.

So if you’re out there at the very beginning of your special needs story, keep reading and looking for stories like ours.

Turn the page, and keep pushing.

Written by, BriAnna Olson

I’m a sarcastic, humor-loving, nap chasing Mama of a preemie miracle little boy, and wife of a Navy Veteran. Our family of three calls Nebraska home, and call ourselves blessed. I have always found comfort in writing and hope to educate and advocate and shine the bright light of love on our world of Autism, through my page, To Infinity & Beyond Words.

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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 our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook, subscribe for exclusive videos, and subscribe to our newsletter.

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Kate Swenson

Kate Swenson lives in Minnesota with her husband Jamie, and four children, Cooper, Sawyer, Harbor and Wynnie. Kate launched Finding Cooper's Voice from her couch while her now 11-year-old son Cooper was being diagnosed with autism. Back then it was a place to write. Today it is a living, thriving community of people who want to not only advocate for autism, but also make the world a better place for individuals with disabilities and their families. Her first book, Forever Boy, will be released, April 5, 2022.

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