Autism Insights: Happy Anniversary…A Celebration Of the Not So Typical Child

Thank you readers for the stories! Let’s keep sharing the them, It helps diffuse the frustration while it feeds the soul: Thank you Margaret for this one:

Happy Anniversary…A Celebration Of the Not So Typical Child

by Margaret Spielman

If I asked you all where you were on September 11, 2001, I am sure we can all remember EXACTLY what we were doing.  However, if I asked you where you were on February 17, 1996 at 6:30pm, I am sure most of you can’t remember and you probably shouldn’t.  However, for me that was the day I got the call that my son had a disability.

Tomorrow is our 13 year anniversary of his autism diagnosis. I find it strange to even think about it because usually it’s not really on my mind.  This year is different.  Maybe it’s because I am a new mom and I worry about how to raise a typical child or maybe it’s because I had to revisit those memories today.

As I sit here, I look back at the girl I was and now the woman he has helped me to become. All the opportunities that have been afforded to me because of his disability and the great strides he has made not because I am his mother, but because of the great team of teachers, doctors, friends, family and community partners that joined me in deciding that pretty good wasn’t enough for him. Everyone has played a part in his success. They have taken the attitude that failure is not an option and that if we expect greatness, he will most certainly give it.

When asked to describe him today I said he is the child that has the faith of a mustard seed, the courage of a lion, and an unconditional love for ALL people! Is he perfect?….NO; difficult at times?…..YES; worth it?……DEFINITELY!!!!

So as I awaken in the morning, I will remember that 13 years ago God revealed to me through my son the beginning of the plans for me that he spoke about in Jeremiah.  I will remember that in my brokenness he was able to bring forth in me courage, faith, determination, compassion and love.  I will give thanks for all that he has done in my life and Hunter’s and for what he has promised to do.

Last but not least, I will take a moment to give thanks and love to my child for never letting me stay at the pity party too long, for reminding me that life is hard but giving up is not an option, and that any limitations that are put on him were not set by him but by others who saw his disability as a weakness.  I will thank him for the joy, unconditional love, courage, determination, faith, compassion and patience that he freely gives to ALL with whom he comes in contact and that he graciously gives to me.

As I close I want to share a story with you.  Years ago when I worked at a bank, I would go to the top floor of the parking deck and sit in a corner to eat my lunch.  It was quiet there and I could relax and just enjoy the weather without having to entertain anyone.  One day while eating I dropped a piece of a crunchy Cheeto on the ground beside me.

I went about eating my lunch and decided to pick it up after I was finished.  However, there was an ant that had different plans.  I sat there and watched as a small ant came out of a tiny crack in the concrete and picked up that piece of Cheeto.  The Cheeto was significantly larger than the ant, but he picked it up and began to take it back to his home.

As he arrived at the entrance he found that the Cheeto was slightly larger than the crack, so he began to work with it.  He moved the Cheeto around to different angles until he finally got it in.  I thought this was amazing so I told one of my friends.  I then asked this question, “How can an itty bitty ant pick up a big ole piece of Cheeto?”  Expecting to hear the scientific explanation, I waited.

He replied, “No one ever told him he couldn’t!”  I thought about what he said and I knew he was right!!  There was no one there who said, “Oh, you are too small; you can’t do that!” or “You need to just leave that there and let the bigger, more experienced ants get it!”  He did it because failure was not an option.  He did it because he believed that greatness comes when you stop saying that things are impossible and start saying, I’m Possible!!!

To find out more about making best of one’s strengths, see Temple Grandin in Calgary this November 22 & 23 at “Keys to the Treasure Chest

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