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What’s It Like?

* I’m still in catching up mode. If you are a loyal follower of this blog, I offer my deepest apologies for not having posted for the last 10 weeks. See, about that time, I took on a new adventure of being a full-time substitute for an amazing high school social studies teacher who was on maternity leave. Clearly, some things had to go just to keep up with everything between school, our family, my photography, and my part-time work with our church. There just weren’t enough hours in the day to continue everything, so blog-posting was one that had to go on the back burner. However, I kept writing. It’s one of those things that I find I simply can’t not do. It just happens. So while I wasn’t posting, I was still writing. It’s time now to catch up. Thank you for sticking with me! 🙂 Here’s “What’s It Like?” from June 18, 2015

Life on the Spectrum is full ups & downs, with smiles, love & laughter to brighten every single day.

Life on the Spectrum is full ups & downs, with smiles, love & laughter to brighten every single day.

Some people ask, “What’s it like to have a child with autism?

I suppose it’s a fair question. Truth be told, I’ve often wondered “What’s it like…” when I encounter people with family situations different than ours.

There are many ways I could answer this, but the truth is, it’s just like having any other child, perhaps with a little more intensity at times. The highs seem a little higher because for the challenges we face and the lows seem a little lower, also because of the challenges, but the bottom line is, he’s a child. He’s our child. And we love him to the ends of the earth and back.

Sometimes, communication is difficult. He can’t always use words to tell us what he needs or what it is that is bothering or hurting him, but we have learned that there are many ways to communicate which don’t involve words at all. We’ve learned that behavior is communication. This little nugget has carried over into parenting our neurotypical kids and opened my eyes in ways I didn’t even know needed opening. It’s made me more perceptive, not only in dealing with our own kids, but also in teaching and mentoring the young people I’m blessed to know through our Girl Scout and summer ball adventures.

Sometimes, our other kids have to be more patient, more helpful and a lot more grown up than their peers. These four have matured in ways their peers may never experience, simply because of our life with autism. While that sometimes breaks my heart, I also realize they are a compassionate crew who would move mountains for their brother and that fills any broken pieces of my heart with a pride, love and respect I hope every parent gets to feel for their child.

So what’s it like to live life on the spectrum? It’s a roller coaster full of ups and downs, and lots of thrills along the way.

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