Autism and Gratitude

It seems odd to link autism and gratitude. But, I do. Despite the battles and worry that came with the diagnosis for our boys, good grew from it. It is healing to recognize the positive things we have experienced since our kids were diagnosed on April 2nd, 2007. 

Our Diagnosis Day Becomes National Autism Day

The year after our kids were diagnosed, April 2nd – our day – became National Autism Day. Can you believe it? In 2007, the day our kids were diagnosed, we felt so hopeless, fearful, ashamed and isolated. There wasn’t a ton of information about autism, but we knew diagnosis rates were growing fast.

In 2008, National Autism Day transformed our diagnosis date into something much bigger; a public platform kicking off an entire month of awareness about autism. Every year since, April 2nd reminds us that there is hope and help – and that we are not alone. Indeed, we are part of a bigger family; connected to all of the people affected by the struggles and the blessings of autism.

Autism and Gratitude

In this post, I wanted to spend some time focusing on autism and gratitude. Here are a few of the ways autism has positively changed our family:

Autism challenges us to learn how our children learn; taking into account how they organize, process and memorize information.  We appreciate the importance of homeschooling, mental health days, pre-teaching, social groups and the Department of Education.

Autism means we understand terms like spectrum and sensory, input and integration, organizing and overstimulation. We treasure friends for our kids. We keep meals simple. Autism opens our hearts to sister epidemics with overlapping symptoms – ADHD, allergies & asthma.

Autism connects us to other parents with unique approaches for treating, advocating, and parenting autism. There’s no one best way to address autism. The range of styles has given us options and insights into what works for our family. We are better at making transitions, asking for do-overs, and shrugging off judgements.

We didn’t know what to expect when our kids were diagnosed. We’ve had many worries and milestones. As we continue to learn and cope and fight our way through autism, we know there is gratitude alongside the struggle.

Still growing...




Jennifer Ebeling
Jennifer Ebeling is a proud Minnesotan and U of MN alumni. Gooooooo Gophers! Each week, Jennifer produces and hosts Still Growing - a gardening podcast dedicated to helping you and your garden grow. The show is an in-depth interview format. Guests featured on the show share a passion for gardening and include authors, bloggers, professional gardeners, etc. Listeners and guests of the show can join the Still Growing community on Facebook. It's a place to ask questions, share garden stories, interact with great guests featured on the show, and continue to grow and learn. Jennifer and her husband Philip have four children, a big golden lab named Sonny, and live in lovely Maple Grove, Minnesota. P.S. When she's not teaching her four kids a new card game - or teaching them how to drive a car - Jennifer loves inspiring individuals and groups to maximize and personalize their home & garden.
Jennifer Ebeling
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1 Comment

  1. The Engineer on April 4, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    Nice work…

    For all the obvious reasons and more…I share with you in the pain, learnings, and ultimately triumphs of the last six years as well.

    I love your spirit. It can’t be matched.

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