Why I am Thankful for — Autism

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Giving Thanks Thanksgiving Aspergers

What?  Yes, it is true.  My oldest has Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism, and it makes life difficult.

But on the day before Thanksgiving, I thought I would share why I am — really – thankful for this trial.

I for sure don’t act this way on a daily basis, as typically I am getting frustrated with my son due to the issues that autism has brought to our family.  However, along the path of healing that we have been on, some days I think, “How would I really feel if I were to wake up and find that my son was completely healed?”

And I realize that, I am thankful for autism.  Or rather, I am thankful for the parts of my son that have been made special by his affliction.

Here is some of what I mean:

1.  Honesty -

When my son says something, he means it.  There really is no wondering with him.  Try to get that with any other kid (or person, for that matter.).

2.  Loyalty -

My son sticks close with a fierce loyalty to trustworthy people.  No matter how many times I (and my husband) blow it with him (lose patience, yell when we should hug, etc.), he still loves us.  He sees past our failings and sees our hearts and continues loving and forgiving us.  No matter what.

3.  Intelligence & Memory Skills -

No doubt about it, we have a sharp cookie.  And his memory is astounding.  He’ll remember things like:

  • the last names of people we’ve met only one time
  • physician’s names
  • dates of events (like the date we did something important because he remembers that it was on the same day that his favorite hockey team won a shut out)
  • twice he’s qualified for the national competition in the National Bible Bee, one year memorizing literally hundreds of passages in the Bible.  My aging mind can’t even come close :-).

When I can’t remember something, my youngest will say, “Just ask him.  He remembers everything.”  It’s true.

4.  Inquisitiveness -

Like me, he wants to know about everything.  He asks questions ad nauseum and they can go on and on.  I get frustrated regularly about the onslaught of questions, but truth be told, if he stopped asking, I would miss hearing what his inquisitive soul was pondering.

5.  Healing Help -

This “crisis” of autism has helped me to see other health issues in our family and learn how to better deal with them.  Figuring out how to better help my son has helped me to better help my entire family.  And, as a result, it has led me to learn about better health overall.  I’ve read books and scoured the internet endlessly for health information that has helped me to help him.  And us.  And hopefully now others.  Like you.

6.  Community -

Because of autism, I have made many friends whom I never would have known otherwise, both locally and on the web.  Autism groups, bloggers, etc.  I am so thankful for the inspiration and friendship of others who are on the same path as us.  A big hug to all of you from me.

7.  Weakness -

Because of autism, I am powerless.  My bent is to be an “I Can Get It Done” kind of gal.  Mostly.  Truth is, I have a great deal of insecurity bound up inside, so I alternate between feeling like Supermom and well, Losermom.  Maybe you’ve been there?  Anyway, facing something as rough as autism has made me realize that there is very little in my control.

I have to let go and let God be my strength daily.

I don’t know how to help my son, but He does.

I don’t know how to love, but He does.

When I am weak, He is strong.

Yes, I’m Thankful for Autism.

For more on how autism has touched our lives, read:

Natural Autism Healing – Monster Included
Healing Our Son’s Autism – the Best Therapy of All
Freedom on the Fourth (And Autism & Anxiety Story)
Special Needs Children – A Sign from God

And here is another post by Becky of Organizing Made Fun on Thanksgiving and Autism.  Great minds (and thankful moms) think alike :-)!

Is there a difficult situation in your life that you need to thank God for?

 {Photo Credit}

 

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  1. Thank you Adrienne for the reminder to BE THANKFUL IN ALL THINGS! I am a mom of 2 boys with special needs, and I know how easy it can be to focus my perspective on how their issues make life more difficult. It’s only by the grace of God that I’m able to wade through the “crud” and see my boys for the treasures they truly are, BECAUSE of their issues, not just in spite of them.

    On this challenging journey parenting children with special needs, I think perspective is crucial. It’s been said, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Perhaps we should just learn to appreciate the “lemons” for the wonderful, unique blessings they are, mouth-puckering sourness and all. “Sour” has just as important a role in our lives as “sweet” does…sometimes more!

    Thank you for sharing from your heart, for encouraging a right perspective this Thanksgiving, and for pointing us to Him!

    PS…I am thankful that God’s plan for building our family won out over mine!

    • Nancy, thanks for sharing. I have been having to battle this all even this morning. Seems I have my ideas of how things should go and then….

      You are so right about God’s plan. We sure are not in charge.

      Blessings ~Adrienne

  2. What a beautiful idea to share. Whether out kids have special needs or not, we should all know that we have the perfect kids for us and they have the perfect parents for them.
    Thanks for sharing, you made me think today!
    Jen

  3. cheeryshirley says:

    Adrienne ~ That was a beautiful post of honor…To God in His wisdom in Family Planning, thus His guarantee that He will supply all grace to carry it through. To you as an honest and loving parent. And, especially to your eldest son, who lives with this disease and still fights through. Your post shows who he really is…someone worth knowing! Thank you so much! Hugs, Cheeryshirley

    • Shirley, thank you for your sweet comment. I have been tried a lot today and I haven’t done well the entire time. Like most days. He is such a blessing. I love him.

  4. This is truly beautiful. I love it and echo many of your sentiments about my own unique boy. On our hard days, I try to remember that God does not give us the children without giving us the grace to train them up. On the good days, I just tahk God for the gifts!

    You might enjoy a poem I wrote for a local hospital blog at http://signaturemoms.com/2011/04/13/in-honor-of-autism-awareness-and-national-poetry-month/

  5. Flávia Gontijo says:

    Dear Becky,
    I´m from Brazil. Sorry about my english mistakes.
    Thank you very much for teaching me to glorify God about my difficult memories and moments.
    I´m thankful for my difficult marriage and my cheating husband.

    Love.

    Flávia Gontijo

    • Your English is fine, Flavia. My name is Adrienne, but otherwise, your English is almost perfect.

      Your situation is certainly rough. My thoughts and prayers go out to you.

  6. Beautiful and true. Thanks for sharing, Adrienne.

  7. Our boys could be related. Raising an Aspie isn’t easy, but it’s always interesting and helps me to stretch my mothering potential. It’s truly a gift to see the goodness in others come out when they are dealing with our babies. Love and agree with your perspective! Have a wonderful holiday!

  8. I’m so thankful for this post! Esp since it is the same as my post for today!!! http://themommycalling.blogspot.com/2011/11/thankful-for-hard-things.html Autism is one of the scariest things that has happened to my family, but also one of the best. Thank you for the encouragement and for the information!

  9. This is great – I second all you mentioned!

  10. Love this entry. My son is also autistic (although he missed a diagnosis because he faked out the doctor)… although there are some challenges, the beautiful traits you described above are many of his strengths as well. And, we are very grateful for our special needs childrens’ accomplishments, when we might take it for granted from a typical kid. (We have three kids and three totally different IEPs.)

    • Very interesting about the “faking out” part – I am curious about that. I might be showing my ignorance, but what is an EP?

      • First, the easy question–an IEP is an “Individualized Education Plan” at school, under the federal laws, to provide accommodations etc. So… our oldest needed son an IEP for anxiety/dysgraphia; our daughter is visually impaired & has a neurological condition which impacts her coordination and development/lots of sensorial issues and food sensitivities.

        We thought our youngest was the easy kid but by 5th grade we realized something was very amiss. Aspergers or probably PDD explains a lot. A whole lot.

        Now, how he faked the Dr… he is actually very coordinated (definitely outside the spectrum criteria) and fairly charismatic. So, on the (many) occasions where he didn’t understand something he is able to come off as eccentric or quirky, rather than awkward. And, he told the doctor he has a lot of friends, but when we think about the nature of the relationships, they really are acquaintances that he gets along well with. Developmentally, not typical. The last few years we’ve been medicating his anxiety which has helped him enormously…

        • Hi Kerry. Oh sure – I thought you wrote “EP” – maybe I just read it wrong, or it was early in the morning and my eyes weren’t working that well. Our son’s issues got noticeably bad at age 6. I hope things continue to get better for you. Hope to see you around again.

  11. Thanks for this inspiring attitude! It’s amazing how adversities can be such teachers. I’ve had such admiration for folks like Temple Grandin and John Elder Robison also.

    Happy thanksgiving!

  12. From a sister-in-law to 2 great guys with autism can I just say: THANK YOU! Amen! This touched me immensely. God made each one of us special and I praise Him for it!

    God bless <3.

  13. Thank you. This touched my soul today. My husband and I are missionaries with 3 very special little girls. Our life is hard, and it’s easy to fall into a “thankful in spite of…” attitude instead of really just being thankful for everything and everyone. Thank you for your transparency and this much needed reminder.

  14. I’ve found that having a child with special needs has caused many people in our lives to be kinder to us. We are touched by God’s love, through others, regularly.

    • That is wonderful to hear. In our case, since Asperger’s is an “invisible disability”, it typically means we need to explain to people, but then they understand and are more compassionate. Thanks for sharing!

  15. Such a great post – I needed thee reminder to be thankful for my son too – even through the difficult days! I am also thankful for Shaklee products that keep improving him! http://www.srkindredspirits.blogspot.com

  16. What a great thing to do as a Thanksgiving practice! The kids are amazing. That they must move through their days in a world hostile to their senses, I don’t think most people can even imagine. My son has a particularly regressive form of Autism where he was born typical, regressed at six months into very high functioning Autism, then starting regressing again at age 4. By age six he was severely Autistic and in a diaper. With medication, biofeedback, and spinal cord surgery he is moving into the moderate range. Every day has been treading water and trying not to lose more of him but we are gaining on what caused the regressions to begin with, so hopefully we can stop them and move forward. It is hard to be grateful for any of that, but I am always grateful for him. I am grateful for the sea of Autism parents who are there for each other day in and day out.

  17. He was diagnosed with Landau Kleffner Variant at age six. When he was put on anti-convulsants and Prednisone the seizures and aggression stopped. When we take him off Prednisone (the standard of care treatment) he falls apart. We also found out this year that he had a tethered spinal cord from birth. As he grew the spinal cord stretched, triggering immense pain and loss of urinary issues. He had surgery for that last month.

    We have tried DAN Protocol (he got worse on it), Homeopathy (did nothing), and a range of other natural things. He has been a non-responder to everything except medication and Biofeedback…oh, and ABA and speech, of course. I do dream of Yasko testing, but I’m not sure when that will happen.

    • I’d love to correspond more as I can. I did the Yasko testing. I wouldn’t waste my money on it if I were you. It made my head hurt trying to navigate everything. A friend of mine did it too and now she is w/ Theresa Vernon as well and her son’s vomiting w/ migraines has stopped. I am out of adrenal burnout and some other 7+ (and 20+) year old conditions are gone. It’s the best healing I’ve found yet for much less money.

  18. How old is your son? Just wondering; my man with autism is 26 years old as of Nov.,6. And you are 110% right. Though many, many times I saw nothing to be thankful for, like when his pediatricians blamed me saying there was nothing wrong with this 2 7yr.old destroying the office while my 4 yr.old daughter sat quietly next to me. But as he grew and we grew with him, our church prayed, especially at IEP times, we felt God in our lives in a way we would have been denied had we been denied the experience of autism. We are not a healthy family, be it bipolar/anxiety disorder, musculoskeletal problems, asthma, whatever, all of it has brought us closer to God and made us more compassionate people. Glad I found your blog.

    • My son is “only” 11. I can’t believe how fast he is growing up. We have lots of issues too. Did you see the information about Theresa Vernon on my adrenal fatigue post? I really think her work is helping us and she is not that expensive. It’s worth a phone call for sure. Hope to see you around again.

  19. My 12 yr old as Aspergers. What you said is so true. Living with child with Autism can be such a challenge at times, but also such a blessing. I couldn’t imagine him any other way at this point. We knew as early as 2 that something was off. At 3 yr preschool, many things challenged him and looking back now we definite signs. At 4 we moved to a new town, and almost immediately a keen eyed speech therapist recognized he had sensory issues. By 5 his school OT told me that she was pretty sure he it was Aspergers.. When he was up for his 3 yr retesting at 7, it was all in black in white, and we finally had our answer. He is in 7th grade now. Each year has brought new challenges, but he also grows leaps and bounds. (this year literally, as he is now bigger than me!) We too have 3 kids with totally different IEPs. We have a busy household for sure!

    • Wow, you sure do have a busy household! It’s an every day struggle, but I hope I am finally learning to be more patient. I knew something was wrong about age 2 as well, but we had no diagnosis until age 6. From 3 different “experts.” Bless you in your work!

  20. I have been blogging all month with a focus on gratitude and inside, I’ve been asking God to show me how to be grateful even in the hard things. I don’t have a single thing as ‘hard’ in my life as the job you are doing. Thank you for sharing your gratitude. I just stopped by from Time-Warp wife.

    • Tammy, thanks for your kind words. I don’t always do a great job with the gratitude. And with how late I am up now, tomorrow might be a rough one. Thanks so much. Your words blessed me.

  21. This rang so true! I am the mother of a 20 year old son who also has Asperger’s. He is the oldest of our 8 children, and there have certainly been challenges along this journey, but he is a wonderful, loving son. He is in his second year of university now, and on the dean’s list, despite his organizational difficulties. We are thankful not only for him, but for the progress he has made since his diagnosis as a preschooler.
    Keep heart. It was nice to run across your blog, and I hope to stay connected.

    • Wow – how encouraging! There are some real successes with our son. Long distance bike riding for charity (he rode 58 miles this past year in one day), placing nationally in the Bible Bee Competition, and more. Thanks for the encouragement and I sure hope to see you again as well.

  22. Interesting perspective. But you’re right, these kids are SMART! And, inventive. I get such a case of the warm fuzzies when I am able to have 2 way communication with a little girl who is non-verbal that I work with.

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  24. Adrienne, this is a beautiful post! It’s so honest, tender, heartfelt and thought provoking. Thank you for sharing it with the Hearth and Soul hop.

  25. Wow. Thank you so much for linking up and sharing this. Imagine the mothers and fathers you are touching with this! I am going to share over on Facebook as well.

  26. Thanks for sharing a wonderful touching post to Hearth and soul blog hop.

  27. Thank you for your submission on Nourishing Treasures’ Make Your Own! Monday link-up.

    Check back later tonight when the new link-up is running to see if you were one of the top 3 featured posts! :)

  28. Thank you so much for sharing about your son and this thoughtful perspective on raising a child with Aspergers. Your son sounds like an incredible young man.

    Warmest wishes,
    Jenn

  29. Yes to every single one of these. I have a teen with autism and, while there are many things that make our days tough, there are that many more that have changed our life for the better. I love the innocence that she has and her ability to see the good in everyone and to never judge someone by what they look like. She has taught us so much, sounds like your son has done the same.

    • Thanks so much, Jessica. I so often am not focusing on the right things. Trying to get things done, getting frustrated with my son’s issues. And I miss the beauty. We had one such amazing “beauty” moment last night. I hope to share it. It was amazing. Blessings to you and yours.

  30. What a beautiful post. Thank you so much. Our very good friend has a son with autism, and we have learned so much from him. Our friend’s son, and our friend, have blessed us beyond measure. What an encouraging story!!

    ~ Tiffany

    Transfer of Health
    Healthy Recipes and Wellness Tips

  31. Thankyou. O sure apreciare your blogs and recipes. My 7 te old and 3 te old ha e Aspergers as well as hubby. We eat cesien, gluten, sugar free and more recently soy and egg free. Seams that the soy affected us in similar ways as gluten or cesien. And now allergic to eggs. We do quite well with these dietary habit in managing anxiety and meltdowns. I have four boys. I am so thankful for the peace and the ability they now have to focus and be sensitive to eachother. Thus, I REALLY appreciate your help on the yummy recipes since we eat so close to the same. May God bless you more and more!
    Rachel

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, Rachel! Blessings to your home as well and I hope to see you around again! Yes – we do eat alike :-). Several of us eat eggs, and I will fry them and peel the white off so my son can have the yolks, but it’s hard. He’s had a reaction sometimes from stray white on the yolk. Take care.

  32. Oh my goodness, what a wonderful post! I just found your site and when I got to this post, and #7 I was ready for a box of kleenex. I’m also a mom to a wonderful kid with autism and severe peanut allergy. Thank you for this wonderful resource!

  33. Carol Blackman says:

    Loved your post on thankfulness for autism. I remember when our son was really doing poorly years ago and someone chided me for not praying for healing for him. As the years passed I realized I didn’t desire instant healing as autism had opened doors to help others that we’d NEVER have been able to connect otherwise. It’s not been an easy road, but it’s been one we have treasured and can see God’s faithfulness countless times. Now that he’s a young adult, I find it even more of a blessing as he has a stick-to-it-ive-ness with his first job (working for a bee keeper) that I would have quit with the first horrible sting that swelled his hand and arm horribly, but thankfully we found some homeopathic drops that helped the severe reactions and now he gets sometimes 30 stings a day and he may look like he was hit by buckshot in that part of his body, but he acts like it’s no big deal since it’s not swollen thanks to the homeopathic drops. When people have told him to quit, he just replies, “Where else will I find a job? It took me a year to find this job, I’m not quitting!” We feel truly blessed to have had the privilege of being his parents.

    Blessings,
    Carol

    • Thanks for the beautiful note. Blessings on you with your son. I hope to see you around again and I’m glad to hear about the homeopathy. I need to dig into that more :-).

  34. I know I am late seeing this post but I have to tell you something. I will try to think of this each and every time my daughter goes into her “alone moods”. After fighting for years to know what was wrong with my daughter at 12 they Dx’ed HFA. It has been a very long road. And with the onset of hormone production her melt downs have increased 100 fold in the past two years. The meltdowns or explosions as they seem have taken a toll on me and the rest of the family BUT….. TO live without her or to live without the part of her that is so head strong would be devastating. Yes I too am thankful that Autism made her who she is! She actually gives me lots of purpose. I have to fight for her so I must stay strong through all adversity. I must help her become all she can be even on days when she does not want to see another human face. I must take each new breath to be there when she succeeds and steps up and takes on her role in life. In short I must just BE! And she IS! Love to all the Autism parents!

  35. Lacto-fermented foods, especially kefir, have been reported to have good results in cleaning out our “gut” and many problems, including autism, have been cured.

  36. I’m thankful for Asperger’s, too. But not that way…. You see, I have Asperger’s, my husband has Asperger’s, three of my four children have Asperger’s. We don’t think there’s anything wrong with us, as we say, “cause God don’t make junk”. Our youngest child, who is 7, does not have Asperger’s and she is a challenge for us, but we meet a lot of people because she drags them over the introduces us to them. Which is awkward for us, but we have met some really nice people we would never have otherwise met.