Sunday, June 13, 2010

Celebrating Stephen's 12th birthday and the gifts of Autism

We had Stephen's birthday party last week when some of my family could make a visit from Maine. My mom, stepdad, grammy and my friend Jenn and her two boys were our party guests. The party was small but everyone in attendance has been a part of his life consistantly and always loved and accepted him for who he is. Stephen could feel the genuine love coming from eveyone at his party and he had a great time.

My kids' birthdays are always a time for me to reflect. Stephen's Autism has given us many gifts over the years and as he matures they just get better and better.

1-If Stephen loves you, he really loves you and will show you. If he doesn't like you he won't show you affection and it's probably because he can sense that you don't accept him.
2-His having Autism and the challenges it brings show you who your real friends are and which family members you shouldn't even waste your time on.

3-He has helped us understand our own "quirks" and that we are who we are for whatever reason and that they make us unique and give us skills that other people don't have.
4-He loves hugs, kisses and sitting on our laps and isn't embarrassed by us showing our love for him in front of other people.

5-He doesn't reject people based on their appearance or because they aren't cool, gossip, tease or judge other people.
6-He has made us more commited to raising awarness about Autism and that ALL people with disabilities have rights and are not to be discriminated against, made fun of, abused or treated like guinea pigs.
7-He doesn't argue with me about EVERYTHING like a typical boy his age would.

8-He isn't greedy and constantly seeking out more and more things to own. He is happy with what he has.
9-He doesn't care about what is trendy or popular.

10-He would never hurt another living creature without a good reason.

11-He does things when I tell him to the FIRST time.

12-When he smiles it is genuine and never fake or used to manipulate others or mask his true feelings.
13-He doesn't show off or need to be the center of attention.

He blew out the candles for the first time this year!

14-His obsessions with books, animated movies and shows and doing searches for those things on the computer can be used as learning tools and rewards, and future job possibilities.
15-He is very tidy and loves having a place for everything and everything in its place.

16-If you want to have him do something like a chore, grooming, school work, etc. just make it part of his daily routine and he will gladly do it.

Even while opening this present he can't take his eyes off that new stack of books!

17-We get out of bed every day excited to see what new word, skill or level of understanding he will demonstrate.

He likes listening to the sound it makes when you move it.

18-He has taught us to appreciate the little things in life and that unconditional love is priceless and if you have that than you have everything.
19-His echolalia is turning into a way for him to communicate and he is blowing us away with some of the things he CHOOSES to repeat.
He kept repeating this when I was getting him ready for school last week, "I don't know if I can do it. You have to believe. You are stronger than you realize." And we have learned over the years that we are VERY strong because we have made it through every challenge that his Autism has presented us and not given up or completely fallen apart.

20-He is a great big brother and doesn't argue with, tease or beat up on his little sister.

Yes, he still loves the Toy Story movies and we are planning on taking him to his first movie theatre movie when Toy Story 3 comes out on June 18th.

My grammy and my mom. My mom has always been there for me and always supported my son and my family. She has taught me the meaning of unconditional love and I have been able to give to my children. My son is such a lucky young man to have people that love, support and accept him. Without those priceless things he wouldn't be who he is today.
I am so proud of Stephen and the wonderful young man he is turning out to be and all the ways that his Autism has made us better people and parents.
How has Autism touched your life in a positive way?


danette said...

I LOVE this post, and your list! I can relate to a lot of these too. What a blessing your son is to your family, and your family to him as well. I'm so glad he had a great birthday!

K- floortime lite mama said...

Happy Birthday wonderful beautiful Stephen
You are beutiful inside and out and so is your son
This post made me cry

Casdok said...

Beautiful words and photos - happy birthday!

Anonymous said...

You are an amazing mom. I can't help but always feel lifted by your positive take on autism and your family. Thank you for being there for me to read.

PS - Your son often makes me think of my own. With his beautiful blonde hair and blue eyes. Even his lips and how he looks off makes me think of my son. You and I are very lucky people to know such special little beings. :)

Tilly said...

Happy Birthday Stephen!

What a great post about your lovely son and supportive family.

We have recently found out that our 4 year old son has Asperger's Syndrome. Our Nipper is a bundle of energy, very comical and a great mimic. I hope he continues to have those traits as he grows up.