How has raising a child with autism changed you?

For most of us, our day-to-day lives are so routine we can relate to Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, waking up at the same time, doing the same exact thing down to the very last second. We put all of our energy and focus on our children and taking care of our family and our daily responsibilities. This is all very important, of course, but have you ever stopped to think about how all of this has affected you?

Maybe you had different life plans. Perhaps you had everything mapped out for your children before they were even born. Everyone fantasizes about their unborn children, right? 

Of course, we all know that life is unpredictable and doesn’t always go according to plan.

Raising a child with autism is probably the last thing that one would ever imagine, but like most, we play the hand we’re dealt and carry forward.

I got to thinking about how raising a child with autism has changed me. Its made me more compassionate and understanding towards others. I’ve come to understand that I cannot judge because I never know what is going on behind closed doors.

I wanted to know how autism has changed other parents so I asked and you answered!  How has parenting a child with autism changed you?

It made me believe that one day miracles can happen. Never been a believer.  

Its opened my eyes in so many ways. It has given me so much patience, its made me love so strong. Its made me hate a lot of people who judge. It’s made me into a strong mama bear willing to go above and beyond for my baby cubs. I love my kids, I’m very protective and my son has taught me so much but he’s always taught his sister a lot too. I’m so proud of my kids everyday. I fall more in love, I could never imagine my life without them. They are my purpose in life they are all I live for. My world revolves around them.  -pebbelz1017

In every way imaginable. I went back to grad school and completely changed careers because of autism. It has strained my marriage and made us a stronger team too. I have more patience than I could have ever known. And I feel more empathy with humanity. -Chris P

Its made me realize that some battles just aren’t worth fighting. What used to be important just isn’t. Its made me more intolerant of bigotry and discrimination. Some people I want to shake and tell them ‘seriously if that’s all you’ve got to worry about get a grip’. And that’s only for starters.  -Anne S.

Its given me a different outlook on life!! Autism has given me patience and has shown me not to take anything for granted!!  -China and Dawn J.

Makes me more aware of people and situations. It made me not trust people, that goes for family and friends. It keeps me distant from people I know. It makes me appreciate and love my two children more and more each day. I love that they are different and see don’t really care about what is going on around them.  -Ebony K.

Made me a better person! I believe being unique and having different abilities is cooler than neurotypical any day!  -H. Kelly

Battle. Hardened. Tired. Lonely. The list could go on and on.  -Hatfullofstars

For the better. You learn how to choose your battles. Its the simple things in life and the most watchful eye for situations and to love as much as you can and celebrate every milestone that happens.  -keiratynan

Taught me patience and understanding.  -Sommy E.

Patience, understanding and faith in God had increased.  –Siri

Patience and understanding. Its made me smarter and more aware of bad energy and hatred. I cannot tolerant bad energy anymore. Its made me stronger and I have more confidence in myself! Its made me believe in my strengths as a woman. I have learnt a lot of emotions and tolerance and not taking SHIT from anyone!  -X.M.

Made me the best version of me. I am so grateful for these gifts.  -Nourish to Health

Autism has taken over! I live, breath, eat, drink this world! It’s not good or bad, it’s encompassing.  -KJ Cutter

Patience and to take a step back and look at the world in a different view. Taught me to appreciate all things. Stronger mom. -Maegan D.

As much as I want others to understand our situation, I just have to excuse those who don’t or can’t. Because not everyone knows or even aware about autism, just like i was before. If God did not give me this special gift, I wouldn’t have learned about autism or what special needs is all about. So yeah, everything has its own set of blessings, its up to us to look beyond just the surface.  Arix is six now and ever since he was diagnosed with mild autism at 3 yrs old, I had no choice but to be more patient, understanding, empathetic and less judgemental towards others.  -Hairiya S.

Its made me a way more awesome and overall positive, caring, responsible strong person/mom!  -Roxie

To do as I need not what I am told, with respect always.  -BraveWithAutism

I became a mature, balanced and patient woman. My priorities changed and my view of life changed. I became more calm and satisfied.  -Nada A.

I am becoming a step parent to an 11 year old boy who has absolutely changed my life over the past year. The things that used to matter so much to me don’t matter so much anymore. I have become flexible on a level I never thought possible, and I have expanded my ability to love more than I ever thought possible. I am constantly evaluating people, places, environments, activities, food to see if T would feel comfortable. I have watched my own daughter make space in her room and in our home to include him. I have watched the ways in which she patiently allows him to be him – in ways she would never accept in others – and loves him for it. I see her kindness toward and consideration of this boy – her age exactly – in all the time we spend together. I see her finding ways to help him feel comfortable and safe and happy. I see her appreciating his unique sense of humor and understanding the way he talks with no words. And I see the way his father is drawing us into their lives and trusting me to help him make decisions for his child’s life. That an 11 year old boy came into our lives when I never expected to have another child is a miracle in itself. But who he is, and the amount of love I have for this kid has absolutely changed who I am as a person and who I am as a Mom.  -Belle K.

Learning a different kind of patience.  -Gervasio Family

It has been a rocky road for us as a family. For me it has been very stressful and very rewarding also! He has taught me to think before I speak. Action talks louder then words and to love unconditionally. He has taught me coping skills, patience and forgiveness. He is my side kick. I am with him all day 24/7 except 45 mins a day while he is in school. He is a hand full. But he is my world. His older brother and sister are very protective of him. They are his buddy. Its hard on them but they do their best with him!   -Stefani W.

I have a 7 year old step son that I am in the process of adopting. When I first met him I honestly didn’t know what to do, I had never been around a child autism. His mom had informed me of things he does, and won’t do or didn’t like. His mom told me he was diagnosed as non-verbal and the doctors told her she would never hear him say “I love you.” Well with work, patience and dedication he talks and has now for a few years. Fast forward to when I met him, about 10 minutes into meeting him, he came over and sat on my lap. I looked over at his mom and she was smiling from ear to ear and tearing up, I asked her what was wrong and she said “He has never sat on someone’s lap that he has just met, he has never even talked to someone he just met” and from that moment I knew this was gonna be a great thing. There are days that we have bad days, and then there are good days. Some days get very very stressful. But being new to all of this that’s expected. I’ve been learning new things everyday, staying calm, how to keep him calm, how to get him focused when he’s having a bad moment. He is doing amazing in school, always getting good notes home, always interacting with peers and teachers. He’s an amazing kid! And he’s my amazing little buddy! He has helped me in more ways than I think I’ve helped him. Everyday is a learning experience and we continue to grow. -Jake

I’m on this journey with my child. I’m learning more about her and her needs so I can help her explore more about herself. Ensuring she has the right type of ABA therapy and just enough to help her in hectic situations but not change her as an autistic person. I take a step back everyday to make sure I’m creating a path that she can walk independently from me knowing she will probably always need me. I’m constantly thinking about how she’s processing communication and I want to match that. I’m so intrigued by the way she thinks. So impressed by the way she feels and views things that are so simple to me. Her mind is a gift. A gift I want her to cultivate and enjoy. Feel comfortable and confident. I’m so in love with my child. I truly wouldn’t want her any other way.  -Chaya’s Mom

A butt-load of patience! And I appreciate the tiniest gestures, like when he makes eye contact for a few seconds, it’s the most amazing feeling.  -My Quirky World

How has parenting a child with autism changed you?  Leave a comment in the comments section below!  We’d love to hear from you.

Author, Hasan Zafer Elcik

Zafer Elcik blogs at Otsimo, and creating educational games for his brother and the other children with autism.