I’ve always been a big believer in the saying “things always happen for a reason.” Never in a my life did I think I would have a child with autism, but life is unpredictable and perhaps there is a greater purpose for some of us.

The word “why” was in my daily vernacular for at least a year after my son’s diagnosis. A question that would loop over and over again in my head. “Why did this have to happen to my son?” “Why us?” “Why isn’t he like the other children?” “Why can’t he be normal?”

Once I came to terms with my son’s autism, I slowly let go of “why?” and began to change my way of thinking. I was able to open my mind and reflect about our lives. I realized that we were surrounded by some amazing people I never would have met otherwise. These people have become an integral and important part of our lives.

First and foremost, we have an amazing ABA team who work diligently with my son. These women have become so much more than therapists we pay to work with our little guy. I go to them for advice and support and they’ve lent me a shoulder to cry on — on multiple occasions. They work very hard with Max and have genuine affection for him and his well-being. They have become my friends and confidants and I am grateful to them for all of the good they’ve done, and continue to do for my boy.

I’ve come across some wonderful autism parents over the years. These people have become good friends; people I can relate to, people who don’t judge or ask questions when they see my son doing doing something that may seem strange such as chewing on a toothbrush because he seeks constant oral input or squeezing his chin on a random object to satisfy his sensory needs. To others, this may seem like odd behaviour, but they get it. These women have been of tremendous help and support to me and I hope to maintain my friendships with them for years to come.

We’ve also been fortunate to have an incredible music therapist and a wonderful speech therapist who work with Max on a regular basis. I will reiterate that, yes, we do pay these people, but they’ve become much more to us than just service providers. They are people who genuinely give a damn about my son and his needs. They’ve taught me so much, and Max really looks forward to his weekly sessions with them. I’m always so grateful for their patience and kindness towards him.

These are a few examples of the great people I’ve been fortunate enough to meet and get to know over the years. Had it not been for my son’s autism, I never would have crossed paths with any of these awesome ladies and it’s hard to imagine our lives without them. This is what I mean when I say I was able to let go of “why” and see that my sons life has been enriched by these lovely people. It brings me back to the notion that things always happen for a reason.

Yes, raising a child with autism definitely has its obstacles and uncertainties. But being surrounded by good people makes for a smoother ride on a challenging and unpredictable journey.