Tomorrow morning, as you get up to go about your day, please take a moment to remember those of us who deal every day with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. April 2 is Autism Awareness Day!
If you will, remember dear ASD people and their parents and/or caregivers:
As your child answers a question you ask, or as you answer any question you've been asked.
As your child looks you in the eye.
Every time your child tells you how they feel about anything, or as you express feeling.
Every time you give your child a hug and he hugs back.
As you shop, and your child stays beside you... and if she gets out of line, she can be corrected. If she did lose you, she can tell who found her her name, your name, etc.
When you stand in line for anything, waiting your turn.
If you have the chance, play a game and notice how you understand you have to wait your turn... and how watching others play the game is half the fun!
As you hear your child complain about the weekend being too short, or sigh as you realize they're going to the next grade, remember those of us who are praying that our child may advance... or that they simply can handle staying in school.
Remember kids like Ryan every time you say hello and someone immediately understands what you're saying and says "hello" back.
If your kids are begging to have someone over, take a second to be thankful they can make friends.
As you go to bed, remember that some kids on the ASD spectrum (not Ryan, thankfully) are barely able to sleep at night. (this one's for a dear friend and a dear relative... I pray that God blesses the rest you do get, ladies!)
If you go to a family or friend get-together, remember that for some of us, although we desperately want to, going to these things can be a life-threatening thing for our child, who wanders and does not communicate.
Remember- please- the therapists who have spent their lives to help these children learn to live in this world that is, at times, so alien to them.
Remember that we who have ASD children adore our children and know how amazingly special they are, and how blessed we are to have them.
Remember that Psalm 139:14 tells us that we are all "fearfully and wonderfully made"... not just the ones of us who are perfectly normal.
If you've made it this far in this post, thank you for caring enough to read this far. Thank you also to all the wonderful people in our church who are aware of Ryan's challenges and overlook the extra auditory color (*ahem*) he brings to our services. Thank you to everyone who works with him on a regular basis, at church and school. Thank you to everyone who pats him (and us) on the back... your words are often stored and remembered later as a shot in the arm to get us through a rough spot. There are times when we wonder if we're doing any good, or if we've completely failed him... but then we remember your encouragement and that His mercies are new every morning, and that since we are to love each other as we love ourselves, we have to first love ourselves... and you can't love without mercy.
If you've ever made a comment to me on the blog... thank you. I share my truest heart in these writings in hopes that someone somewhere will benefit from our struggles and triumphs, and your comments prop up the hope that someone will find encouragement here. I believe with all my heart that our experiences are given to us as gifts from the Lord himself to learn from and to share... so in a way, this blog is but a tiny part of my paying it forward, if you will. Because I have been given much, I too must give... and holy cow have I been given much. I really love our life, where we live, and who we live around, and continue to be grateful for the amazing blessings the Lord bestowes!!!
So for now, nothing profound, just a few thanks and a reminder to remember the ASD people in your life tomorrow, April 2. If you want, you could even wear blue in support. I'm not sure why blue... I've heard of places "lighting it up blue" for Autism Awareness with blue lights outside, but let's just say I'm not quite that ambitious. Doing things in the front yard without three people to keep Ryan from stimming on cars... even changing the porch light... is asking for him to be run over.
Thanks again... and I know if Ryan could, he'd thank you too.