If you watched General Conference this last October, there were at least two different times a talk touched on autism. I'm grateful for this. Just as I'm grateful for this article in the January Ensign:
I'm so grateful for the inspired leaders of the church who address current issues. Because when we first got Race's diagnosis, I felt very alone. Alone in many aspects, though there were open arms everywhere; in the community, at school, and at church. Yet, I still felt very much alone because the burden and responsibilities for John and I were so great. And we were just two simple people with nothing extraordinary about us.
As a parent, what is the thing you want most for your kids? Success and happiness. At least for me, it is to raise responsible, capable adults who will contribute to society in a positive way, and be happy. This in itself is enough to keep parents constantly on their toes, guiding their children along. Parenting is hard. It is stressful. I hate watching them make bad choices as they find their way, despite all the Love and Logic books I read. So to add a disability on top of that, and not just any disability, but autism.The invisible disability (invisible because you can't see it). The disability that doesn't look limiting in the least, but instead plain old looks like a big behavior problem with no clue how to act in public.
I am so grateful for how much more awareness there is now, even compared to two years ago. I am grateful for Primary teachers and Scout leaders and Tae Kwon Do instructors and therapists who adapt their teachings to help Race learn and grow. I'm grateful for the friends Race has who have his back, even in a melt down. I'm so grateful for a red-headed little cowboy who is naturally sensitive to his brother's way of thinking, even when they're fighting. And of course for John. Because most of the time, he is more patient with our trials than I am. And he keeps me looking at the bigger picture, with a more eternal perspective when I start getting too narrow-minded.
And I am so grateful for Race. Because he teaches all of us, every single day.
I am so grateful.
I know Heavenly Father has a plan. And He loves all His children, and He will help us when we ask. And I am grateful for the guidance and comfort He gives me when the loneliness settles in, time and time again.