7 Surprising Benefits of Autism

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Our oldest son has Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism, and it makes life difficult.

However, just as with many trials, good things often come from it, that’s been the case with this as well.

Yes, despite how hard this condition has been to deal with, there are some benefits of autism.

puzzle pieces with text overlay saying 7 surprising benefits of autism.

Asperger’s isn’t easy, and I am easily frustrated with it.

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?”

It’s then that I realize that I there have been and are some benefits of autism–ways that we’ve experienced blessings from this condition.

Update: Our son is now in college and he’s progressed a lot. Most of these good points have remained, but not with the same intensity.

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Title Change

This post originally was titled “Why I’m Thankful for Autism.”

The meaning of the post hasn’t changed, but I wanted to make it clear that I am NOT thankful for autism. I’m just thankful for some of the aspects of autism (and Asperger’s Syndrome) that have been a blessing to our family.

There are a lot of people saying that autism and Asperger’s are just part of the neurodiversity of our world.

Yes, it’s diversity. But it’s not a great situation.

The parents of severely autistic children know just how hard it is.

Let me be clear. Asperger’s is hard, too, but in some different ways.

Asperger’s is more of a silent disability. People with Asperger’s aren’t wearing diapers and wiping fecal matter on the walls, and they are verbal.

But the difficulties are still there, and depending on the situation, they can be very severe.

So, I changed the title of the post from Thankful FOR to Thankful In Spite of. It’s a much more accurate representation of my thinking.

puzzle pieces with title saying 7 surprising benefits of autism.

7 Surprising Benefits of Autism


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.).


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.

Intelligence & Memory Skills

No doubt about it, we have a sharp cookie.  And his memory is astounding.  He

  • remembers the first and last names of people we’ve met only one time
  • remembers physician’s names
  • recalls the exact 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)
  • qualified twice for the national competition in the National Bible Bee, one year memorizing literally hundreds of passages in the Bible. 

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

It’s pretty much the truth.


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 this inquisitive soul is pondering.

Better Family Health

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 our son has helped me to better help my entire family. I’ve read books and scoured the internet endlessly for health information that has helped me to help him.  And us. 

We’ve changed our diet to almost 100 percent whole foods while avoiding sugar and gluten.

We work on liver health, our vagus nerve, brain health, gut health, detox, and more. We’ve removed mold and artificial fragrances from our home.

And now, as I share the information we’ve learned on this site, hopefully our situation has helped you have better health as well.


Because of autism, I have made many friends whom I never would have known otherwise, both locally and on the web; Autism groups, bloggers, and more. 

I’m 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.

Accepting Weakness

Because of autism, I realize just how powerless I am

My bent is to be an “I Can Get It Done” kind of gal. Mostly. Actually I alternate between feeling like Supermom and well, Losermom. Maybe you’ve been there? 

Anyway, facing something as rough as autism / Asperger’s 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 our son sometimes, but He does.

I don’t know how to love in the midst of frustration, but He does.

When I am weak, He is strong.

So yes, I’m Thankful for Autism.

More on How Autism Has Touched Our Lives

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

Do you have a child with a disability? Have you been able to see blessings in the midst of that?

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  1. 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.

    1. 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.

  2. 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!

    1. 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!

  3. 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.

    1. 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.

  4. 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.

    1. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

    1. 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!

  7. 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.

    1. You’re welcome, Tina. Truth be told, I need the every day. Every minute. Blessings to you and yours and Godspeed in your work.

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

    1. You’re welcome, Ela. It’s an every day struggle, but I trust I am learning more daily. I loved the Temple Grandin movie–we also had the privilege of seeing her talk and meeting her locally. It was really interesting and inspiring!

  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.)

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

      1. 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…

        1. 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.

    1. Nice post, Krista! It is scary. And hard. And forces us to do a lot of things that we’d not do otherwise. Blessings ~Adrienne

  11. 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!

  12. 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.


    Flávia Gontijo

    1. 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.

  13. 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

    1. 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.

  14. 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!

  15. 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!

    1. 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