I wrote earlier this week about some of the challenges that come with being a parent of a child with autism – and promised a lighter post later that focuses more on the positive aspects that come from the experience as well. I can honestly say that even with the challenges that come with Autism, having Stone as my son is so incredibly awesome and rewarding, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. He is a really fun and funny boy – and so smart. He has nailed down the shit-eating grin and loves anything that involves laughing and fun. I couldn’t even tell you the last time he’s had a bad day – or even a tantrum. The worst behavior we see from him is a little crankiness if/when he’s denied some of his favorite cravings – such as ice cream or cookies. Even then, it’s pretty tame and easy to manage, especially compared to tantrums I’ve seen (and heard of) other children having.

Stone and his famous smile



















Of course, everything in life is a matter of perspective. And I don’t think any of us want to go through it consciously comparing our plight to others. But it does happen – and I think it’s kind of natural to occasionally have a sense of extra gratitude (or resentment) when you contrast your situation with others. Parents of children with Autism are certainly no different. We can (and do) empathize and sympathize with each other and the difficult journey we all face in our own situations. Talking with each other we learn how easy (or hard) we have it – depending on which end of the spectrum our children reside. Some parents are still trying to teach their 9 year old to use a toilet properly while others are integrating kids into scouting programs or other “neurotypical” activities. Not every child with Autism has such severe verbal communication challenges as Stone – many can speak quite well, but have social difficulties. It’s really all over the map.

But there does seem to be one constant with each child (and parent) when it comes to Autism and development: progress almost always comes in the form of small victories. And I have certainly learned how to look for, recognize and cherish each and every small victory we witness with Stone. Because we know that each step brings him that much closer to the point we’re all striving for: the time when he can communicate his needs (and hopefully someday, his feelings too) clearly on his own – as well as the ability to take care of himself.

So what are some of these small steps we’ve seen in Stone recently? Here is a list of some of his recent accomplishments (and why they’re significant to me):

So those are but a few examples of areas of progress we’ve seen with Stone. I’ll try to do a better job moving forward of making notes when I see or notice an area of improvement because they are important to recognize and celebrate. Collectively they all show how far Stone has come – and how much potential he has for the future as well.

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