When You Count Your Blessings Do You Count Autism?

We are all too familiar with many of the struggles and negative aspects of Autism.

Not only do we live these challenges every day, but we share them.

Because they are the hard, the nitty gritty that we need to talk about..to educate, to make people aware and to foster understanding.

My son, Stalen was diagnosed on the spectrum when he was 21 months old.

He is almost 6 and non-verbal. Autism is not only a part of my son’s identity, it contributes to making him the amazing little boy that owns my heart.

When I say I love him, I love every individual itty, bitty building block that comprises him from the very top of his head all the way down to the tips of
his toes.

It’s important that when we talk about autism we don’t just focus on the hard, we must shine a light on the positives of autism. We need to share positive stories, we need to let the light in so that others sitting in the dark can see it.

I want my son to be proud of who he is…if I’m going to encourage and empower his pride, I need to be sure to compliment and recognize his strengths. 

I need to highlight the positives, so that he always knows he brings immeasurable value to my life and to this world.

I appreciate my son’s attention to detail. 

He is very thorough and accurate when completing tasks. He also has amazing observational skills. He notices my make-up, new clothes and when I get my hair done. He is going to make a very thoughtful husband.

I appreciate his visual thinking and learning skills.

Visuals help clarify and explain concepts and abstracts that words just can’t for him. It’s extraordinary to watch his understanding increase through visual thinking.

I appreciate his real and exceptional honesty.

When I do my at home workouts he laughs hysterically at some of my movements. I know he is not being mean but honest because my lack of graceful flexibility is truly funny. When I ask him a question, the truth is written all over his face.

I appreciate his passion and intense interests.

When he likes something he really loves it beyond measure and he never strays or wavers far from anything he loves.

I appreciate his adherence to a schedule.

My son lives for structure, a routine and a schedule. I’m already starting to see hints of firm punctuality as he gets older, because he understands the cause and effect relationship between time and his schedule.

I appreciate his sharp memory and recall.

I’m always impressed that once he knows something he knows it forever. His memory is impeccable when it comes to foods he has tried and disliked. He never forgets.

I appreciate his adherence to the rules.

He understands expectations and does not deviate from the rules. We count to 3 when he is testing boundaries but we have never actually made it to 3. He always complies at 2.

I appreciate his resilience and determination.

Nothing can keep my boy down. He continually shatters the nevers.

I appreciate his lack of concern to follow social norms.

While most of us are weighed down with the pressure of meeting societal social norms, my son could care less. They do not hold any precedence, meaning or value to him. When everyone else walks in a straight line he spins and flaps in a zig-zag formation.

I appreciate his innocence.

My son never has a hidden agenda or ulterior motive. He is always honest, loyal and genuinely good. His love is deep, pure and always unconditional. He doesn’t know how to love any other way and that is not only rare, but beautiful.

I appreciate his acceptance of others.

He only sees the good in people. He doesn’t care about your past, mistakes or shortcomings. He doesn’t care about race, material things, money, religion, politics…he only cares about what’s in your heart. His level of acceptance for others is what we wish and hope for in the world.

Since I have been on this journey with my son, I’ve had the great pleasure to meet many autistic adults who have become friends. I appreciate each and every one of them for their willingness to share their stories and perspectives with me.

I appreciate each of the autistic individuals that have enriched my life.

While they are all unique individuals, they have extended similar words of kindness, compassion and friendship to me and my son.

I want them to know that I value them, that I am thankful for them and that I love them. Their successes in life have renewed my hope that has often fallen tirelessly along the wayside on parts of this journey.

I want autistic individuals to know that they need to keep shining, keep sharing their stories and keep changing the world, all by being their true self.

Just as we need to share and talk about the hard stuff, let us always remember to celebrate and empower autistic individuals in our lives with a grateful heart.

Because we all deserve and need to hear that we are capable, valued, accepted, and loved.

Written by, Chrystal Venator

Chrystal Venator is a proud Canadian, wife, ASD Mom, and Step-Mom. In January 2017, at 21 months her son was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. He is 5 years old and non-verbal. Since his
diagnosis, she has become a full time stay at home Mom. Chrystal is 1000% focused on raising autism awareness and helping her son live a full and fun life. You can follow their story on Facebook at Stalen’s Way.

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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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