Ask yourself this…in your journey with autism, or association with autism, have you found hope? Have you found those moments that provide you with the strength you need to move forward towards those happy days. To move forward to those days that say, “Everything is going to be ok!” For me finding hope along the way and locking that reassurance deep inside my heart has been the most critical part in our journey. Why? Well, for me, for you, and for everyone else living on this earth regardless of their situation, regardless of having autism or not, will have those blocks in the road or rocks we stumble upon. Sometimes those blocks seem permanent with no way around them. Sometimes the stumbles we take are so fast and so hard, we can’t seem to get back up. But we can, we truly can.
We have heard those stories of triumph over and over again through out history. Example, Helen Keller. Most people, given her situation, would believe the physical struggles are to hard cope with. Too hard to find the positive when your life is so stunted by what seems to be permanent blocks in the road. I would venture to say Miss Helen also had those moments when she thought life was too hard and wanted to slump deep into the realm of self-pity, but here is the difference. In those moments she found a way to cope and found what would pull her out of the dark. What about Victor Frankle. There is no doubt throughout his experience in the jewish concentration camps he came across moments when he doubted. Moments when he thought life would be better not living. Those dark and hideous times are moments I myself can not fathom experiencing, let alone experiencing them with a brighter hope that everything would be ok. But Victor Frankle did. He took every pain staking day and looked for the positive. All of those days of seeking for a brighter hope worked. The outrageously horrific days were made strong by his hope and life did indeed end up being ok.
Cali was diagnosed two years ago as having autism. She was not high functioning nor was she severe. She was somewhere in the middle. To me it doesn’t matter where a child is on the spectrum. For a parent who’s child is high functioning, their world is extremely hard. For a parent with a child who lives with more extreme, severe tendencies, their world is extremely hard. My point is this, we only know what we know, so whether the situation or experience seems easy to one or difficult to another, doesn’t change how we ourselves view the circumstance. We each experience tests in this life. When you go through a difficult situation, no matter the severity, it is hard. Cali has autism and it has been and sometimes is hard. Ava does not have autism, but her life has not been without hardship. Whatever your situation is, life can be hard. Hard but never debilitating. There is always hope available. It is up to each of us individually to find that light, grab hold of it, and never let it go.
The hope I hold may be different from the next mom, but it is a hope that makes the weak days seem strong and the hard days worth living for. Where does my hope come from? It comes from both the big and small moments that make this hope a reality and sometimes tangible. The day Cali learned to respond to her name, was moment adding to this reality of hope. The day Cali and Ava hugged for the first time was a moment hope became tangible. Each of us gather hope from different experiences, different moments. I want to wake up each morning and sieze the opportunities that provide hope. Doing so will be the only way we can make through this life and feel happy that we did.
I believe deep in my heart all of us including our children can find joy amidst the hardships. For an autistic child, their are numerous avenues one can take for therapy and treatments. Each of us has our own opinions and beliefs on what therapy works and how many hours a child should receive this therapy. Studies have even been conducted confirming certain opinions and pending facts, but one universal truth each one of us can benefit from is hope. Studies, opinions, therapies, and treatments aside, each of us can find the light at the end of the tunnel if we open our eyes and look. My advice is to start looking where it so obviously stands. IT STANDS IN THE LOVE WE HAVE FOR OUR CHILDREN. If hardship and difficulty is all one can see at the moment, stop and think about the love you have for your child. That love will spark the light and life will soon become bright again.
Hold to your hope whatever it is. Cali will always have autism. Some days might be hard because of it and some days will be hard because well, life is just hard. The hope I hold is not a hope that Cali will someday be rid of her autism. Autism is a part of who she is and, in part, the reason she is uniquely her. It’s a beautiful thing.
Friday’s Sweet Signs of Hope is a new segment that will feature a new story of hope each and every Friday. Stories from moms, dads, teachers, siblings, etc., which will offer up glimmers of brightness to those who are in search of that brighter light. This means each and every reader will benefit. Who in this life isn’t at one time or anther searching for inspiration and words of encouragement. Take part, read, and see for yourself the great impact these stories can make. Begin your journey of hope here or add to the hope you already hold dear. Hope…it’s a beautiful thing.
A last message from our family to you…
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(Video produced by MP Cunningham. Thanks again for all your time and efforts. Turned out perfect.)
Next week’s story of hope:
Gavin. Age 5
Have your own hope story you want to share? Share it with us!
Did you find this story inspiring? Maybe you have encouraging words for the author. Leave your thoughts and comments below!