Seeing the Beauty in Autism

It’s easy to see the dark side of autism.  The difficult behaviours, the meltdowns, the sensory overload, the seemingly never-ending sleepless nights, the feeling of social isolation and the many, many other demands that parenting a child with autism brings forth.

Seeing the beauty in autism can be challenging when your life consists of various therapies and it can be difficult when your child only eats four or five foods.  How can your see beauty in autism when your child doesn’t go to sleep until midnight?  Or wakes at 2am EVERY. SINGLE. DAMN. NIGHT and doesn’t go back to sleep until 5am, if at all.  You’re sleep deprived, you’re researching, you’re educating family, friends and even strangers.  Maybe your child isn’t toilet trained yet or maybe your child is non-verbal with severe cognitive disabilities.

Finding beauty in something that often times comes with so much stress and hardship can completely go over our heads, but let’s stop to think about this for a moment.  I can only use my son as an example, but I imagine that many autistic children may view things similarly to him.  He see’s the world differently, and sometimes, it’s really beautiful.

Stopping in his tracks to notice frozen droplets glimmering on a leaf in the winter time, or watching the wind rippling through a puddle, exclaiming that “it looks like waves in the ocean!”.  Seeing “rainbow’s” on bubbles or putting his face right next to mine because he’s staring at the reflection of the TV through the lenses of my glasses.  Then there’s the look of sheer joy on his face when a strong gust of wind blows through the trees so they sway back and forth.  I’m seeing the world through my child’s eyes and it’s beautiful to me.

There’s also beauty in the way I see my son.  I’m so proud of all of his accomplishments, no matter how big or small.  Each victory makes me extremely happy and my heart bursts with love and joy.  Whether he learns how to play a new song on the piano, or draws a picture of what’s supposed to be a robot, I know how much hard work and effort he puts in, even when he doesn’t want to, and it’s beautiful.

I see beauty in the way autism parents come together.  We need each other and the bond autism parents share is like no other.  There’s common ground and a mutual understanding about raising a child with autism.  There’s beauty in the strength and courage autism parents posses and this parenting journey is not for the weak.

We all have our version of what’s beautiful, and as the saying goes “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”  Sometimes we may need to look a little deeper and stop to see the bigger picture, but I know that there is something positive and beautiful we can all see in autism.

What beauty do you see in autism?