There is a path less traveled that leads to profound personal and spiritual growth for those who are courageous enough to keep walking—through.
I wrote my book, Strong and Courageous: Encouragement for Families Touched by Autism, to help parents and families feel understood and cared for as they begin their journey of parenting a child with autism.
I gave them a heads up concerning some of the things to be expected along the way and shared professional advice on how to maneuver the inevitable twists and turns of the road ahead.
All of these things are important—but there is more. Personal and spiritual growth is there for the taking, if you so choose.
Personal growth is not always what you are thinking about when your child is diagnosed with autism. Most likely, it is the furthest thing from your mind as you go into crisis mode, trying to make sense of everything while desperately seeking to help your child.
My family has been at that same starting point, flooded with all the emotion and uncertainty that accompany those early days. Looking back a decade later, I see something different. I see the growth in all of us—growth that would not have otherwise been possible.
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As you walk this path, you will discover how seemingly negative circumstances can work together for your good and lead you to a place of peace and hope, instead of despair. There will be rich opportunities for personal and spiritual growth on your journey with your child through autism.
We are not where we started ten years ago. My grandson, who was diagnosed with autism at age three, is not where he started ten years ago. I am thankful for all of the victories and successes—and for the growth!
Some specific areas where you can choose to grow are:
1. Grow through discouragement and disappointment.
2. Grow through giving of yourself.
3. Grow through the support of family.
4. Grow through loyal friendships.
5. Grow through the partnership of your marriage.
6. Grow through intentional self-care.
7. Grow through giving up control.
8. Grow through the strength of faith.
May you embrace your journey and choose hope as you grow with your child through autism!
This article was featured in Issue 106 –Maintaining a Healthy Balance With ASD