The gift of autism
There are two specific things I have to be grateful for coming out of Bright Eyes' autistic spectrum disorder.
I have written about this before, but I want to say again that ASD has taught me fresh lessons about loving my children - all of them.
I am the sort of task-focused person who sometimes finds it easier to get on with whatever job I happen to be doing than to relate to whoever is around me. I hate working in teams, and I prefer to do things my way and right now.
The temptation for me is to say "oh, the children will be alright," and leave them alone, resenting their interruptions. It might work with a lot of children, but there is no way that works for Bright Eyes. Where the other two might get on ok, he definitely doesn't.
ASD has forced me to be far more intentional and committed in the way I speak to the children, the way I show my affection for them, the way I value their discoveries and activities and the way I engage with them in doing things together.
I truly believe I have grown in patience and in love for all three of the children in the past year, despite the many hours of frustration and despair. ASD has turned my parenting around.
The other thing I am grateful for is the knowledge of child development I now have. There is just so much I didn't know and still don't know. It's wonderful to be able to understand the children so much more and find creative ways to gently nudge them into growth and maturity.