Yesterday I met a man whom I found out had a 13 yr old daughter with ASD. I shared that I found myself in the same situation as a parent of a child on the spectrum. He wanted to give me advice..."If I could give you one piece of advice, it would be to grieve NOW...for the child that will NEVER be normal."
In one ear, out the other, that is the WORST advice I've ever heard! But I just feel sad for him. Sad that he can't enjoy his child simply because she's not "neurotypical." I feel sad that he can't appreciate all of the things she CAN do and WILL accomplish. And, most likely, HAS ALREADY accomplished.
I shared his advice in my parenting class last night and was met with sympathy all around, as we all, as ASD parents, do our best every day to delight in the day's little victories.
I don't know what my child will be when he grows up, but I know that yesterday he rode his bike sooo fast and after falling off, got right back on. I celebrated his bravery and persistence.
I know that he gets dressed in the morning without (much of) a struggle. I celebrate his self-care skills.
I know that in the mornings, instead of yelling, "No, Daddy!" when my husband starts to stir to wake up, he asks instead, "Daddy, can you stay in bed a little while so mommy and me can have some alone time?" I celebrate his kind words.
Even parents of kids NOT on the spectrum often have to give up their dreams of what their child will be and do; for instance the athletic parent who has a very musically inclined but clumsy child, or the book-learned parent who has a very hands-on and practical child who might not love school that much to pursue a post-graduate degree.
We need to remember:
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."--Jeremiah 29:11
God has a plan for our little ones, and we need to celebrate who they are, regardless of if that fits our preconceived ideas for them.
I will be praying for that dad and his daughter, that they can find things to celebrate in daily life.