June 1, 2010

Gratitude Attitude

Posted in Fun Stuff tagged at 9:21 am by autismmommytherapist

Gratitude Attitude

Hello everyone, I hope you all had a fabulous Memorial Day Weekend!  Today I’d like to thank the men and women in the military who have the impossibly difficult task of keeping our country safe.  I’d particularly like to mention my cousin Kevin Preston, who is currently fulfilling his ROTC duties at semester’s end and loving every minute of it.  Thank you for all you do!

Tuesday Tips:  “Three gifts my child with autism has give me”


Most of the time, I rail against the challenges autism lays at our feet. I like to say, “I’m no bright-sider.” I use blogging as my pressure release valve. However, if I’m being honest, autism has given our family some gifts, too. Here are three that come to mind:

1. Community might seem like the obvious top of my list of gifts, because I treasure the many beautiful people I meet online, in waiting rooms, within and beyond the autism community. However, it’s something deeper even than that. I don’t just have a special community, I have a community that takes things to a deeper level. Forget about borrowing a cup of sugar, or how many Facebook pals I have — I have been rallied around by supportive people (special needs parents and NOT special needs parents) who have reworked annual neighborhood Easter egg hunts to be more inclusive of my gfcf boy (who is a son of a Jewish mama who is never entirely sure gfcf is even the right path), who without any prompting of any kind mailed me checks from their prayer group to fund therapies, who give me free passes to bail on some social commitments when I just can’t make things work for my family. So, the number one gift I’ve noticed as an autism mama? The depth of connection I feel to people who love us as-is without needing to congratulate themselves for their “tolerance” – and the love I feel for others in my community.

2. Appreciation of small things also sounds kind of obvious, because when a child with significant delays meets a milestone, no matter how late, you feel extra elation: my baby said “I love you,” or we finally had a successful meal (by our standards) out in public. But my appreciation has another level as well. I am a born worrier, obsessing on trying to control the universe since at least kindergarten. Now that raising my kids while we make our way with autism has taught me to appreciate the small things more, it really has helped me see that they are ALL small things. I mean, autism doesn’t leave me enough time left over to dwell as much on, “Did so-and-so mean it as a dig at me when she said such-and-such at the fancy function?” I rarely make it to fancy functions anyway. I’m busy celebrating that first restaurant meal when my five-year-old didn’t climb under a table. See, it’s all small stuff, but which is more important? Thanks to this journey, some small things I let go over better than I did before, and some small things I remember to cherish.

3. I’ve written about this before on my blog, Rooster Calls, but autism has taught me uncountable, precious lessons about teaching. I hope I had some quantity of patience, wisdom, resourcefulness, creativity during the nine years I taught before I had my son, but I know for sure I have more now. Of course, I have more for the school kids I teach than for my own two babes, but I am working on that…

Tuesday Tips:  “Three gifts my child with autism has give me”

(from Babette Zschiegner,.a parent of an autistic child)


1.  I would not be on the path I am now to help others.  If my son was typical I would, in all likelihood, be working in a position that was not nearly as rewarding as my coaching is to me now.  Thank you Zach for helping me find me calling!

2.  Zach has taught me to be “present”  … he never is stuck in the past or worrying about the future.  He enjoys the moment he is in.. We could all learn something from that!

3.  Enjoy the simple things… Zach gets great pleasure from a walk in the woods, the feel of a breeze, the touch of moss, the way stones feel as you run them through your fingers, how light plays on water..  How lucky he is!



  1. Mary Craig said,

    Love this! I too feel supported and encouraged by friends and family who take the time to ask questions and learn about my son. I appreciate how beautiful my boy is each time he gazes into my eyes because for many months he struggled to do just that. My son showed me I had strength beyond anything I knew or believed in for myself. I always said how much I respected Special Needs parents and said aloud that I’d never be strong enough to raise a Special Needs child. God apparently had other plans for me and for that I’m grateful!
    Each day I have my William I realize I AM BLESSED because at least Autism is NOT terminal. When I see other parents struggle with life and death decisions regarding their children’s health I realize Will can live a very long, happy life.

    • I know. Even when it’s been incredibly difficult here, I remind myself at least this, while at times way-of-life threatening, is not life-threatening. Thanks for posting!

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