I am not a “poor thing”

“Oh, I’m so sorry” “Poor thing” “It must be really hard for you”

These are just some of the things I hear when someone finds out I am the mother of a child on the autism spectrum.

When I first received my sons diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder PDD-NOS it came as no surprise, but it was still a hard pill to swallow. I soon began to realize this would not be an easy road for him or me. I started to think about all the challenges he would face in his life because of the Autism. Worst than that; I began to dwell on them. My days were filled with thoughts of all he would miss out on, the social difficulties he would face, and the many other things that would affect his daily living. I wondered if he would ever make friends, learn his times tables, get a job or even get married.

One day while reading it occurred to me that I was setting my son up for failure…I was selling him short. He was capable of much more than I was giving him credit for. I had been looking only at the negative side of Autism; at only the frustration, anxiety and hopelessness it can sometimes bring. Then one word came to mind….JOY.

Joy is defined as experiencing great pleasure or delight; enjoyment in. Some of may be wondering what delight could I have gotten out of autism. Its not necessarily the autism itself, but the experiences I have with a child affected by Autism.

For example, when we used to go on family outings, it was rare to sit through an entire event without a disruption. My son is unable to sit still long enough or be quite during the appropriate times. So we always seemed to be making a quick escape to walk around the hallways or go outside on occasion, weather permitting. One day during a walk in the park, my son and I sat down on some benches to rest. After only a few seconds, my son popped up, held out his hand and said, “Mommy lets dance.” I thought why not.

So there we were hand in hand dancing our own version of the waltz; even doing a couple of twirls and dips. My son even bowed at the end of our dance and I curtsied. Later that day as I thought about what had happened that morning; It dawned on me. Had it not been for my son’s inability to sit still for even a few minutes, or his unexpected verbal outbursts; we would have missed that wonderful moment together. That moment of pleasure, of delight, of JOY.

Since that day I made a decision to look differently at my son’s autism. I began to rearrange my way of thinking; starting with making a list of my son’s strong qualities. Ambitious, independent, strong-willed, compassionate, observant; just to name a few.

Next, I decided to keep what I refer to as Joy Journal. I record moments in my son’s life; moments of joy, moments that occur because of his autism.

Yes there are still challenges we face. There are times of set backs, stress, and even occasional negative thoughts. But now instead of dwelling on those; I pick up the Joy Journal and I read all the times my son and I found the JOY in autism.

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Autism Today
Your information and resource center for everything autism-related, including an unbiased place for your voice to be heard.
Autism Today

Autism Today

Your information and resource center for everything autism-related, including an unbiased place for your voice to be heard.

0 thoughts on “I am not a “poor thing”

  • September 13, 2010 at 10:34 pm
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    Wow..what an upper.. Thanks for sharing.. And your story of your dance with your son..put a smile on my face this entire day.

    RosePetal

    Reply
  • September 13, 2010 at 7:54 pm
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    aw well they mean well! don’t be too hard on them. most people aren’t really sure what to say but i can see how it could get annoying after a while!

    Reply
  • September 13, 2010 at 12:04 am
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    I commend you for being able to turn your attitude toward it around. It must be hard, but bravo! I have a very good friend who is autistic, and I love the hell out of him.

    Reply
  • September 12, 2010 at 4:30 pm
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    The “Joy Journal” sounds so great. Constantly thinking about the negative things, can only bring more negativity into someone’s life. && Sometimes its hard to remember the good times, when they can be rare. Writing it down when it happens, to look back on, sounds so wonderful.

    Reply
  • September 11, 2010 at 2:45 pm
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    I’m so glad to hear a positive story on here about a mother and their child with autism. I think it’s all too easy to fall into the rut of just mourning for the child you could have had, and not loving and accepting and having all the fun in teh wold with the child you do have! The way that the parents look at autism has a huge impact on the growth and development of the child, and you will more than likely see great outcomes because of the way you interact with your son and will learn how to not hold him back. Congratulations!

    Reply

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