Friday, April 1, 2016

Our Face of Autism

What does autism look like?
Autism changes your family.  Totally.  Completely. 
  • You love your child differently.
  • Your son doesn't hesitate to walk his sister onto a basketball court at half time to help her shoot a basket in front of all of his peers despite the fact his sister is wearing huge pink noise cancellation headphones. 
  • Your oldest daughter loves and cares for her sister exactly how mom would when she sees her getting stressed and frightened, even if it means she misses something.
  • The little sister helps her big sister with buttoning her clothes.  Not understanding why her big sister can't, but simply does it. 
Autism makes the easy things difficult. 
  • Going to eat for dinner. 
  • Birthday Parties. 
  • Watching your son/daughter at a sporting event.
Autism alters how you think of the world…forever.  What seems like no big deal is a BIG deal. 
  • The neighbors lawn people weed eating. 
  • The stranger chewing gum. 
  • The sprinklers. 
  • The balloons that come through a restaurant with a group celebrating a birthday. 
  • The whistles at a basketball game. 
  • Your home not being perfect and orderly because there is a 5 year old and two teenagers who are actually living life in the home.
Autism makes life harder for your child.  It just does. 
  • She has difficulty making friends, conversation, and forming relationships with others outside of her little circle. (And we have the most amazing circle for her.) 
  • Her anxiety about noises stops her in her tracks.  Literally.  Stops walking and begins to retreat.
  • Her ability to express and receive language (which is HUGE) is incredibly difficult.  So we don't always know what she is thinking, feeling or wants.
  • Social situations are tough.  Like real work.  Like exhausting!

Autism sucks.

But, autism is also beautiful.

We love more completely because of autism.
We see God’s grace, mercy, and provision more clearly because of autism.
We see others differently because of autism.  It turns out that we all have something…may not be autism…but we have something that makes us different.  We all struggle.  Now we see the struggle and feel compassion for others.
We see the world through her eyes.  And some of the world is scary, but oh how we see the beauty because of autism.
We learn to talk about what someone else wants to talk about because of autism.  We are often wrapped up in what we want and what we enjoy.  But this child forces us to think about someone else and about what they want and enjoy.
We rely on our faith just a little more because some days are so SO hard, and our faith is all we have in that moment.
We exercise forgiveness more freely because of autism.  For one another.  For ourselves.
We are so privileged to have a face for autism.  It is an incredible face.  A beautiful face.
We are so privileged to have a laugh for autism.  It is the most amazing giggle, and you desperately want to hear it again and again.
We are so privileged to receive love from autism.  It is the purest, simplest love.
We are so privileged to experience the world through autism.  It is an amazing world.

Cate Scotlyn Denton is autism.  We are beyond thankful for her.  We adore her.  We like her.  We enjoy her.  We love her.  She is ours and we are hers.  She is our face of autism. 

As Autism Awareness Month begins, challenge yourself to see the face(s) of autism.  The diagnosis belongs to child/adult.  The child/adult can change your life in ways you never expected.  You will never regret discovering the faces (the lives) of autism.