6 Reasons I'm Thankful for Autism. (Post may contain affiliate links).
Oftentimes people assume that having a child diagnosed with autism would be extremely difficult. While there are some difficulties in raising a son who struggles with autism, there are also many things I’m thankful for.
Raising any child has its challenges, of course. Which is one of the main things I remind myself of when I'm having a bad day. The challenges are just different, depending on the uniqueness of the child. So, if I had a child that was “typical” then I might be worrying about some of the things listed below. But I'm not! 🙂
6 Reasons I'm Thankful for Autism
1. I don't have to worry about my son getting involved in hardcore music.
My son is 15 years old. At this age, many kids start listening to rock music.
Well, Nathan doesn't care for any music, partly because of sensory difficulties. He especially doesn’t like rock music—even Christian rock, such as Skillet. In fact, one time a song by Skillet came on the radio while in the car, and he was all, “Turn that off! That’s sounds awful!” (Reminds me of my mom coming home when I was a teenager). LOL
When I was a teenager in the 1980s, I started listening to punk rock, new wave, and other not so nice music. (If you've ever read the lyrics from secular rock music, you know what I'm talking about). And I honestly believe the music I got involved with contributed to my rebellion.
Thus, I am very thankful that Nathan is so picky about music.
By the way, one of the ways that I stay in a more positive mood is to listen to my favorite Christian music while at the gym.
In fact, this has been a great motivator to go to the gym!
Let me explain. So, Nathan basically hates and doesn't tolerate music around him. Thus, I have gotten to the point where I actually look forward to going to the gym so that I can listen to my favorite music–and then I even get a workout out of it. So, not only does the music help me to re-focus on Jesus, but I am much calmer when I get home. PLUS I feel so much better about myself because I know that I did something positive for my health.
You would be AMAZED at how this can boost your mood and help you to be more thankful!
Now we are all different with unique likes and dislikes.
So, my suggestion to you is to find something that you really love to do and that puts you in a better mood–and take time to do it!!!
And as a result of being a Registered Dietitian and Certified Health Coach, I want to strongly encourage you to get some exercise in whatever form you can enjoy.
I do not do anything at the gym that I hate doing. For example, I hate push-ups and sit-ups. So, I do other things like work the stomach machines. So, I would never tell you to force yourself to do something you hate.
Find something that you look forward to and don't dread. Whether it's at the gym, at the park or at the coffee shop. JUST DO IT!!!
2. I don't have to worry about what types of friends he has.
Nathan is even pickier than I would be about the friends he chooses. In fact, he's picky about who he will even talk to.
3. I don’t have to worry about him walking off with a stranger.
He's extra cautious about strangers. Again, you can hardly get him to talk to someone he knows. So, there is NO way he’s going to willingly go with a stranger anywhere. In fact, when he started ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) therapy, it took two months before he would even get in the therapist’s car without mom or dad present.
Plus, he has absolutely no desire to chat with strangers online (or chat with anyone for that matter). So, I don't have to worry about him being lured on the internet, either. (Yes, he has been educated on the dangers).
4. He's content with what he has.
Nathan has one main pair of shoes he wears, and he will wear his old clothes until they're so snug, I'm embarrassed for him. In fact, I usually have to talk him into getting a new pair of shoes, and it's always my idea when it's time to get new clothes. He never thinks he needs new clothes. I can honestly say that Nathan has not ever asked for a new outfit or a new pair of shoes.
Also, Nathan usually only has one or two items he wants at a time (even at Christmas), and he has never acted like he wished he hadn't chosen that item. In other words, he's not greedy and he is careful about choosing before buying. (I could learn a thing or two from him)!
A recent example of how he's not greedy was on his birthday last May. His grandma was planning what to buy him for his birthday. The item he chose was less expensive than what she was willing to spend. So, she asked him if he'd like to have more Bendaroos. (He uses these all of the time, since he was a little tyke). When I asked him if he needed more Bendaroos, he said, “No.”
By the way, if you struggle with being thankful, you most definitely are NOT alone.
Homeschooling special needs children can be really hard at times. And I am most certainly NOT the perfect example of if you struggle with being thankful, However, one of the things that helps me immensely to stay focused (or to re-focus) on what I have to be thankful for is a devotional I do in the morning.
You may be familiar with the free YouVersion Bible App?
Before I had a child, it seemed that I could always find time and energy for Bible study. Well, the past few years, I have found it much harder to stay focused on a lengthy Bible study first thing in the morning. The YouVersion Bible App has been SUCH a blessing during these times!
For example, you can choose to just listen to the Bible read to you—and most versions are available. It took me a while to find a voice I could enjoy. But there are lots of choices! Also, there are pre-written devotionals (100s of them) that last anywhere from 2 days to 30 days (and maybe even more). You can choose whatever topic seems to fit your needs. I am currently going through “Different” A study of 1 Peter. Of course, there are tons of plans on the simple topic of thankfulness or being thankful.
Another thing that is super cool is that you can create images out of verses and you can even use your own photos. This is something my husband does a lot. He posts on Facebook and it is really encouraging. I also pick images that are already done, which is quicker, and then share on Facebook. Not only is it an encouragement to others, but I can go back later and read it myself and find relief from stress!
There is just something about sharing God's love with others that also helps us to stay in a positive mood and be more thankful!
By the way, the app is absolutely free and is available for Android, iPhone, iPad, and pretty much every device you can imagine.
There is Even An App for Kids.
The thing I like the most about this Bible app, besides that it's free, is that I can always find time to be in God's word, even when I'm feeling seriously pressed for time.
5. He's a Cheap Date!
Most of the time, Nathan doesn’t even want to eat out. And when he does, he always chooses small portion sizes. For example, if he goes to McDonald’s he just orders the six piece nuggets.
6. He's Resourceful
When he’s trying to figure out how to do something at home, he uses whatever things he can find at home. Only occasionally will he request something to buy. For example, he'll print stuff off the internet, cut and paste to decorate his trains, use whatever pencils or pens are around the house. And speaking of Bendaroos. He will reuse his Bendaroos even when they are the wrong color (if he runs out of a particular color, for example).
So, I'm sure I could think of lots more things to be thankful for besides the 6 Reasons I'm Thankful for Autism that I just discussed. But for now I will close with this:
When we struggle with our attitudes and moods, God is always there waiting to encourage us:
Psalm 9:9-10 The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
Psalm 34:10b Those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
Isaiah 26: 3-4 Those of steadfast mind you keep in peace—because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for in the Lord God you have an everlasting rock.
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