The Good Thing About Autism

By Kristi Wagner, Parent Contributor

kristiwagnerfamily

I remember bringing home my first born son from the hospital. I was obsessed. Overwhelmed by the staggering responsibility of taking care of this little life. And overwhelmed by the perfect beauty of our precious baby. Sheer, blinding love.

Those first months were a blur of holding him and nursing him a LOT. One night when he was three months old he was having a really hard time sleeping. Again. And, again, I did everything I could. But this time nothing worked. And he ended up shrieking for several minutes, inconsolable. I was devastated. I felt like a failure as a mom. And pretty much all I did was “mom,” so the feeling of failure and desperation ran deep.

So began my journey- the first of many books and frantic mom research to help my helpless little son.

stack of books

It wasn’t until he was about seven years old that we realized he had autism. And the journey continued. More research and books and support groups. Massive diet overhauls and sensory work and exhaustion and perseverance. And the poignant joy and work of having three more children.

And now he is a handsome, tall, pimply teenage boy. And he remembers football scores and history events impeccably. He reads and writes and is the model of discipline in completing his chores and home school work. I catch glimpses of a great man growing in him.

And then there are other times. When the video game isn’t going his way, and the faulty executive function in his brain betrays him. He throws the remote and storms to his room, crying and screaming like a toddler. And my heart breaks for this amazing young man who did not ask to have autism.

I’m struck by his patience through it all. It is his life, I suppose. It’s all he knows. He’s used to sounds being too loud. Crowds of people being overwhelming. Emotions flaring out of control.

So, I’ve learned to be a little more patient through it, too. I’ve learned that many times I can’t fix the problem. I sit with him sadly. My heart fully sharing the pain. I offer some juice or lure the dog to comfort him. And we get over it together.

kristiskidswithdoggie

I am learning to embrace the bitter and the sweet in this journey my son travels. He may work through the many struggles enough to find a fulfilling niche as an independent adult. And he may not.

In the meantime we find meaning and hope in the knowledge that there is more to life than perfect social skills and high end careers. Deep joy surges in the mystery that we live in an upside down world. The truth is that in the ways that really matter the weak are strong, the last are first, and the losers are the ultimate, beautiful winners.

kristiskite

What a privilege is mine that I get to be the mom as I fiercely love this boy! My heart and prayers stretch upward as I haltingly release this precious gift into the purposes for which he was created.

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Upcoming Support Group Meetings

Jun
27
Tue
6:30 PM North Springs Teen Social Group @ Pikes Peak Library 21C
North Springs Teen Social Group @ Pikes Peak Library 21C
Jun 27 @ 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
North Springs Teen Social Group @ Pikes Peak Library 21C | Colorado Springs | Colorado | United States
  We are starting up a second Teen Social on the fourth Tuesday of every month, at the Pikes Peak Library 21C.  We will meet in room B2 for June July and September and room B6 for August October and November.
Jul
8
Sat
9:00 AM Trinkets and Treasures Fundraiser @ Maxim Healthcare Services - Colorado Springs
Trinkets and Treasures Fundraiser @ Maxim Healthcare Services - Colorado Springs
Jul 8 @ 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Trinkets and Treasures Fundraiser @ Maxim Healthcare Services - Colorado Springs | Colorado Springs | Colorado | United States
Save the date for our Trinkets and Treasures fundraiser. Bring those things in good, working condition that are gathering dust and you no longer want and help a worthy cause. We will be selling these items. We will also be
Jul
11
Tue
6:30 PM Tween Social Group (Age 8-12) @ Old Colorado City Library Meeting Room
Tween Social Group (Age 8-12) @ Old Colorado City Library Meeting Room
Jul 11 @ 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
The Tween Social is a social group designed for tweens age 8-12 to meet other tweens on the autism spectrum and to have fun! When:  meets the second Tuesday of every month from 6:30-8:00pm Please RSVP to info@autismaspergerconnections.org  
Jul
12
Wed
7:00 PM Young Adults Coffee (YAC) Suppor... @ Village Inn* (Note NEW location)
Young Adults Coffee (YAC) Suppor... @ Village Inn* (Note NEW location)
Jul 12 @ 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
The Young Adult Coffee (YAC) support group is designed for young adults on the autism spectrum. The group provides a safe, supportive environment for autistic young adults to make friends and explore common challenges, issues and current events with others