Having a have a child with autism does not come without its challenges and pleasures. There is the language barrier, the ongoing potty training issue, the meltdowns because we can't understand what she needs at that moment and the everyday stuff like no sleeping and only eating one kind of food because the textures bother her. Worrying about her is one of the things that bothers me the most. Worrying that I am not giving her everything that she needs, or that she’s going to seriously hurt herself because she doesn’t register pain, or even that she will be made fun of because she is a little different.
But the good stuff outshines the challenges by a landslide. Every day she communicates and makes us understand what she needs a little bit more. Even when I think she is the most beautiful girl in the world, she still seems to be more beautiful every day. She looks at the world in a different way than most. When I look at her, or any special child for that matter, I see something so very amazing it’s breathtaking. I think that if we would all use our brains like they do the world be a much brighter place.
Justine, my autistic daughter, is the happiest, most caring, kind, and most talented little girl. Her smile lights up the room instantly. With her laugh she can melt your heart. When another child is crying it makes her tear up and cry, too. That shows me that she has more compassion and the biggest heart of anyone I know. When someone is laughing she can't help but to let a little giggle escape, too. She loves music and dancing, as we all do if we would just take the time to enjoy it like she does. She will stop and feel a leaf or tree that we would not have even noticed was there or notice something that we take for granted and sadly don't stop to pay attention to.
Special needs children can teach us so much if we would stop and listen. Sometimes I feel like my daughter is teaching me more than I could ever teach her, and giving me a gift so powerful that I could only hope to pass on to others. Special needs children are the four leaf clovers, the rainbows, the waterfalls, and the sunshine of the world. My daughter absolutely warms and brightens my every day. Being the parent of an autistic child has made both my husband and I open our eyes and become stronger people in more ways than one, and we wouldn't have it any other way.
Kayla, mother of Justine
Seeley Lake, MT