There’s plenty of joy in having two autistic children.
Meghan Ashley has two young boys (six and eight) on the autism spectrum. Here are 10 joys of autism.
We could be at home with an empty box, some masking tape and markers and make a time machine, or a race car, or a rocket since the design came out of my son’s head.
My kids tend to say what they mean and mean what they say. My oldest son started saying “I love you” when I said it a few months ago.
I said it every night and he never said anything. One night he started to say it back.
I asked him why now and he said, “I liked you before but I love you now.”
I love that I don’t have to guess how they feel since they don’t generally hide their feelings to be polite.
Pickiness can be an asset since I know that my oldest son will always want the same thing every night for dinner. No indecision for him.
I always offer him the food that we eat and sometimes he nibbles at it, but corn dogs are king over here!
The way my children make connections is so unique that it is fascinating to hear them talk about what they think or feel, as the connections they make are not ones I would.
5 Special Education Classrooms
We have been fortunate to have had amazing special education programs at the schools my kids have attended.
I love the community we foster with the parents and teachers and how we are able to do this since the class sizes are small.
6 Autism Community
I rarely see neurotypical families support each other in their struggles the way that Autism families do.
The Autism families tend to be more open to input and conversation about what they can do differently when other Autism families suggest things.
I love how what is understood doesn’t need to be explained with us.
I never have to guess about what my child is excited about because the high pitched squeals and spins in a circle will let me know.
Sometimes I get down to his eye level to see the world from his view to see why he is excited.
Sometimes if one person is stimming we all stim with them in support.
I know this one doesn’t seem positive, but hear me out. After our children’s diagnosis we lost some friends and family who felt they couldn’t “handle” being around the behaviors my kids had.
They excused themselves from our lives, and I am grateful to know who would have folded when we needed them and who is not interested in loving our babies the way we would love theirs.
My kids are on the opposite ends of the cuddle spectrum. One loves it and one hates it.
The reason I find joy in this is because the one who hates cuddles only does it when he is not feeling good and can’t tell me what’s wrong. It is a great indicator that I need to start investigating to help him.
The kid who loves cuddles is the snuggliest, most affectionate kid, and I love that he counters the Autism stereotype that they are cold or not empathetic.
10 Being Different
I love that my kids are fully themselves. We encourage them to not mask their Autism and allow full expression of self so that they can understand that difference is relative and normal doesn’t exist.
Everyone is different — but my kids’ differences just have a diagnosis.
Meghan Ashley, MS, LPC, is a professional therapist who runs M Perfect Consulting. She provides services for anxiety, autism, behavior issues, divorce, family conflict, grief/loss, life transitions, marriage, sadness/depression and more.