In 2006, I asked families to tell me what's best about their child with autism. Here are just a few of their responses. None of these families sees autism through rose-colored glasses -- yet each feels that autism has added greatly to their lives.
As you read these notes, you may be surprised that families use words like "joy," "affection," and humor to describe their autistic loved ones. These are qualities some experts claim are lacking in people with autism. Maybe some experts are wrong!
1. Jalen's Smile
Everyone loves Jalen’s smile.
Everyone loves Jalen’s smile. It is so beautiful, and it can make you temporarily forget all that’s wrong in the world! He also is very earnest in his art projects — he’s now 13, and they are pretty much preschool/young elementary school type projects — but I appreciate how good he feels about doing them. I also like the way he’s developed — over the years, he’s becoming much more caring.
2. Noah's Joy
We love how Noah (4) wakes up every single morning with a smile on his face, ready to play and learn. He is a happy and sweet soul with a laugh that comes from his toes. It is a joy to hear his voice as he learns to speak. He has **always” been a joy to us– our baby, youngest of 4, special– as they all are!
4. Finding the Joy in Every Moment
When our kiddo rode his tricycle for the first time, we went nuts. His first words at 2 and a half were the best sounds ever. When my youngest pointed for the first time at 14 months, I went out of my mind! See, for me, all those little “normal” things, things other parents take for granted every single day, are the highlights of my life. ... That’s what I love about my autistic kids, they make me realize the joy in every single little moment, in every single little action in their life… and mine.
Comment by Kari — December 8, 2006
5. A Brother's Loving Heart
My brother Matthew is 9 years old. What I love the most about my brother is that he is different and unique but has the biggest heart. He is not shy, he loves to hug people and he always has a smile. When he comes home, the first thing that comes to his mind is ‘Meagan, where are you??’ and that makes me feel like he will never forget his big sister. The smile on his face reminds me that he is no different and I just love him the way he is!