I think as parents, we all have the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than ourselves simply by nature of the fact that we are solely responsible for another human being’s life. But being the parent of a child on the spectrum, we have had options that non-spectrum parents don’t have.
- We’ve had the option of burying our heads in the sand and pretending our son doesn’t have autism, shaking our head and saying, “Ah, he’s a boy. He’ll grow out of it (whatever “it” may be).”
- We’ve had the option of hiding in secrecy for fear of what the autism label may do to our reputation. After all, what would others think!?
- Another option has been to work with our son, but to keep to ourselves so as not to disturb others when Ben is having a rough day (read: LOUD day).
- And finally, we’ve had the opportunity to embrace it and make it ours, not just Ben’s but ours as a family.
I have to say I’m kind of proud of our family as a whole on this one. We’ve embraced this new way of life as our family’s way of life. Autism doesn’t just affect Ben, it affects our entire family. We have chosen, consciously or sub-consciously, I’m not even sure, but nonetheless, we have chosen to live it with him – together, as a family. Not only do we get to experience this wild ride with a pretty terrific little guy, but we get to share the lessons we learn along the way with a wonderful community which has embraced our family as a whole. And this being a part of something bigger than ourselves, what a wonderful lesson for Ben’s siblings to be learning along the way, too.