Using Autism to be a Blessing to Others
Yesterday I read an article that was about accepting people with a disability and it got me thinking about things. Personally I have always been able to accept my son’s diagnosis of Autism, though at times I struggle with the grief of it. But I have always wanted to use my son’s disability to bless others. Is this why my son has Autism, so that through it we can bless others and show how good can come from it? I believe so, and I believe that he is learning how to bless others as well through his Autism. Maybe it does not make sense to you. Maybe it gets you thinking about things. But for us, this is our calling and gift.
I am not going to sit here and make you believe that I always hold this optimist point of view. Even yesterday morning as my son was having a rough morning and refused to go to school I was near tears as I literally dragged him from the car into the school. Afterwards as I left the building with him screaming and calling for me, I could feel my body tense and my blood pressure elevated. My arms hurt from holding his 85 pound body and my heart ached to just sit and hold him while watching some funny movie. I wanted to scream and curse at the Autism behaviors; it needed to go away and I wanted a “normal” child.
But really that was not fair of me. My son is who he is and I love him for it. He has the diagnosis of Autism and I cannot let that define him. We have good days and bad days; it is what it is.
How can I be a blessing to others? I remember one evening we had some friends over to dinner. They are good friends of ours now, but they asked us a lot of questions about our son and about Autism in general. We were, and are always, very open to answering any questions. After they left I remember feeling numb with “Autism talk”. But later on they expressed how informative the evening had been for them and how they felt more informed about Autism. I had blessed them by telling them truths about Autism and about our son.
How else can we bless people about Autism? Teach others about Autism, be comfortable around others, allow others to spend time with individuals with Autism, and speak positively about Autism. But I challenge you to be real with others about Autism, share the challenges along with the good things. And yes, there are good things!
I fully believe everything works for a reason and purpose. I may not have known what I was doing when my son was initially diagnosed with Autism, but I am becoming more equipped each and every day. So for now we deal with my son’s issues as they come and in the meantime we use it all as a blessing to others in any way we can.
Jen Edwards, MA LMHCA