Whether you are new to this title or a long-term veteran, I feel you.   Today, you may be feeling exhausted, defeated, and alone, and trust me, I get it. For the times I have felt down in the dumps, unmotivated, and unsure of my abilities as a mother, I understand how hard it can be.  Over the last 18 years, while raising my two children, who are on the autism spectrum, I have come to realize a thing or two about myself and my abilities.  I guarantee, that as your children age and develop, so will you! You will impress yourself!  With so much growth personally, you will feel empowered and proud!  I am sure that you can easily think of 10 hardships of raising a child on the spectrum, but I am here to give you 10 positives.  You will receive many lessons while raising your children and I promise that you will be thankful for the gifts that autism brings into your life. Raising a neurodiverse child will make you a better person.  I definitely like this improved, wiser version of myself!

10 Positive Qualities Gained From Raising a Child on the Autism Spectrum

1) You are stronger than you ever imagined!  Raising your child with autism will give you a life full of growth that will be forever evolving.  It will give you the drive to succeed.  You will learn your success story is not about you.  You will view everything through new lenses.   Although your family life may be different from others, it does not make it horrible or sad.  I don’t want someone else’s life, I love mine.  You believe you have a good life, a meaningful life, and a life with purpose. 

2) You will love with everything you have.  You will appreciate the good in everything and have no problems voicing it to others.  Love is what will keep you going!  You will fully understand unconditional love and unknowingly, will teach others why, and how it is done.  Your children know undoubtedly, that they are loved, and trust you wholeheartedly.  You will be able to easily count your blessings.  With all the ups and downs, you can easily pinpoint what you are thankful for.  Having gone through some really tough times you are able to see even the smallest of gifts.  Someone’s care, thoughtfulness, or kind gesture mean everything.   You do not take anything for granted.   

3) You will establish priorities.  You will know what is best for your family.  You will no longer be torn making decisions.  It will become so clear as to what needs to be done to maintain your family’s cohesiveness, happiness, and livelihood.  Saying, ‘no’ to others with confidence will become easy to do.

4) You will be graced with the gift of patience, beyond what you ever thought was possible.  Trust me, I have been tested, and I still surprise myself with my abilities.  In a house full of impatient people, patience has not only been handy, but necessary. Trust me, it is recognized and appreciated.  I thank my lucky stars that at least one of us has it.

5) You will learn the importance of celebrating the little things.  Perfect example: my daughter walked half a block to the bus stop today with no plead for a ride, it was the first time ever!  It absolutely made my day; I was beaming with pride, It’s just that easy!  Your children’s victories, whatever the size, will fulfill your heart.  There is nothing too small to celebrate!  

6) You will have no time or headspace for bullshit.  Negative actions of others will become insignificant to your well-being because you will rid yourself of their nonsense and noise. Debbie Downers and Wendy Whiners will have no place in your life.  Your own personal challenges are about all you can handle. 

7) You will learn not to sweat the small stuff.  You have already sweated through some really big stuff.  There’s not much that phases you, or gets you wound.  You can easily let go, and carry on. There is nothing you can’t get through!  You are a warrior!  You will always have a clear understanding of what is important and worth your energy and what is not. 

8) You are the master preparer.  You have become a follower of order, routine, and structure.  You are now just as predictable as your child.  Living this way has helped everyone in the household live a calmer, more productive life.  You know all too well, that one shortfall could take days to recover, so you’ve become an expert.

9) You are an amazing friend.  Many of your friendships dwindled over time, simply because of, ‘life.’  You also withdrew from the outside world for survival.  Navigating autism and all its glory can be very overwhelming.  You do get back on track and find your people.  You are compassionate, supportive, non-judgmental, and authentically yourself.  Because you have experienced loneliness, isolation, and heartache you are extremely intuitive and would hate for anyone to go through that alone.  Anyone fortunate enough to have you as their friend has a friend for life.  You are a good person.

10) You not only advocate autism acceptance to anyone who will listen, but you have accepted it yourself.  You have become both an educator, and a supporter.  You exude autism awareness and its importance to you is obvious.  You are passionate, devoted, and determined to spread understanding.  There is so much that still needs to be taught, discussed, and done for our children, and you will see to it, that you do your part.