I grew up around remarkable people with all different types of disabilities. These individuals have always inspired me in my own physical battle of living life after a stroke. But my understanding of autism and the impact it can have on individuals and families faced reality when my own child was diagnosed with autism himself at age three.
Autism through my eyes
We knew the signs. I saw more and more as time went on. We went forward with the testing and I’m glad we did. Since Connor’s diagnoses, he has grown by leaps and bounds academically and in the day to day life skills that every little boy needs to know. The biggest improvement that Connor has made is communication. At the time of his test we could hardly get one word out of him, and now he is speaking complete sentences. We can’t get him to stop talking most days.
Having a puzzle piece as the sign is completely fitting for autism. There is no one person alike in this world. That is the same for autism. Thus, the reason for the puzzle piece.
The days with Connor are filled with every emotion. God made Connor exactly how he was supposed to be, he doesn’t need to be fixed. Autism isn’t something you cure. It’s a part of the person that God made Connor to be. And that is beautiful. Period.
There are many moments in life from time to time that remind me of just that. One being a couple years ago on Sunday morning in church. On this day his Sunday school teacher showed me an art project he did all by himself. This may seem small but this one little art project that morning brought me to tears. That’s right, a small art project made with yarn, scotch tape, and two popsicle sticks brought me to tears.
What I haven’t told you yet was that the school week before was a very difficult week for all of us. The end of semester academic evaluations were sent home that same week. Seeing how far behind my son was in the world’s view of where he should be sent anxiety and stress through me like shock waves. In that instant I began to believe the lie that Satan had been telling me, “Connor won’t contribute anything to society.” This is a lie. I was buying into that lie until Sunday morning when I saw the beautiful hand-crafted art piece that Connor made.
In that moment God showed me that it really was going to be okay. We may have crazy not so awesome moments in life. He may lay on the floor in the crowded fellowship hall of a church because he didn’t get to race a car screaming and hitting. Yeah, those moments will and have happened but light shines through like the moment with the art project that confirms in our human hearts time and time again that Connor was created for a purpose. God has great plans for his life.
When we tell people that Connor has autism we often get with a head tilt, “Awe, I’m so sorry.” I know this is said with good intentions but if you take one thing from reading this post today please remember this:
AUTISM IS NOT A DEATH SENTENCE. IT IS NOT SOMETHING TO BE SORRY FOR. IT IS A BEAUTIFUL PART OF PERSON THAT IS FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE WITH A PURPOSE DESTINED BY GOD.
Always remember, every puzzle piece fits somewhere.