Today I want to write a little bit about gratitude.
Not gratitude for autism. No. I couldn’t do that. I think I summed up my feelings on that in my book – “… and inside lurks the secret truth that knows you’d change him in a heartbeat if you were given half a chance.”
Gratitude for a type of autism?
Yes, that I feel I can do.
It may seem a strange thing, but I can’t help thinking about how desperately hard it must be for those people who are a different kind of autistic to our Ian. The ones who know they’re autistic, who know they’re different, and don’t want to be. The ones who just want to fit in, but can’t.
I’m thankful that our son doesn’t curl into a ball and rage against not being normal. I’m thankful that he isn’t high-functioning enough to attend mainstream school, where he might be picked on by his peers who see his differences as threatening. I’m thankful that we don’t have to sticky-tape his broken confidence together, day after day after day, as he struggles with his awareness of his condition.
Ian might have some inkling that he’s not quite cut from the same cloth as others, but does he care about that? Not a bit! To all outward appearances, Ian is happy being as he is. Self-contained. Self-sufficient. Self-involved.
And for that, I am grateful – every day – that we have a child who is so mentally challenged, he doesn’t know how mentally challenged he is.
No difficult questions.
No fighting against the condition.
No inner turmoil about something which cannot be changed.
Just a child with special needs who is who he is, but so extra special, he doesn’t know he’s special.
It’s strange what you can be grateful for, but I’m grateful for that.