Unexpected Lessons

When my daughter was diagnosed with autism, it left me brimming with anger, and feeling at a loss. I felt robbed of my child. What would this mean for my daughter’s future? An immense amount of fear and sadness followed me for a long time. I honestly thought I’d wallow in those feelings forever. Looking back, I never expected what once felt like the weight of the world, to morph into an endless amount strength and determination.

Autism has helped me grow in the most unexpected ways.

I’ve learned to never judge a book by its cover, and to leave any and all presumptions behind. Without even thinking, a person will make an assumption. We naturally cast judgment- it’s human nature. Autism has helped me learn to empathize on a new level. I know what it’s like for someone to see your kid having a meltdown in the store. The endless glares and unsolicited advice, it’s enough to make you cry. At first glance you probably see an unruly child, who looks way too old to be on the ground having a ‘crying fit’. When in reality, she’s having a hard time. She’s experiencing a sensory overload, or something unexpected has just happened. This has happened more times than I can count. I’ve experienced the hurt that comes from someone making an assumption about my daughter, because she has autism. While these aren’t positive experiences, they’ve humbled me. These experiences have allowed me to become a more compassionate and understanding person.

Through autism I’ve discovered the true beauty and power in fostering kindness. Kindness gives you a chance to right a wrong, change someone’s perception, be inclusive, solve conflict, and touch someone’s life.

Kindness breaks down barriers, and builds bridges to things like inclusion and acceptance.

Autism has granted me the gift of perception. I’ve learned that love needs no words, and to celebrate the little things. Things like unconditional love and acceptance have taken a whole new meaning since embarking on this journey. I had to learn to let go of the preconceived notions I had about happiness. Happiness isn’t found in ‘perfect’ or ‘easy’. It’s something you manifest within. People often wonder, how does someone find peace in something so unexpected, that comes with so many uncertainties? The answer is, perception and acceptance. It hasn’t been an easy journey. Autism is not easy. It has its hard days. There are days I feel defeated, and I still worry. But through this journey, I’ve discovered a strength within myself I never knew existed. And truthfully, I’m a better mother and person for it.