Making a Difference, Step by Step

Elizabeth Givler

Baby Turtle Goes to SeaPhoto by USFWS/Southeast

If I could make a difference in your life….

These were the words to my son’s solo in his last chorus concert as an elementary student. (Sniff, sniff.)

And boy, has my boy made a difference in my life.  I can’t imagine my life without him. First of all, it was with him that I became a mom.  Every single thing in my life changed when I became a mom.  I could write a whole book on all of those things.  However, I’ll just leave at that– every single thing changed– some things drastically and some things not so much, but change they did.

Secondly, he has taught me so much– to see beauty in small things like reflections in a doorknob, to communicate more effectively, to notice sounds that I may not have noticed before, to be patient– just to name a few.

I think that, because he is in my life, I’ve learned to slow down and not hurry so much.  Of course, there are some days that I feel that my life is like a train speeding out of control, but over all, I’ve slowed.   My son cannot be hurried.

I’ve also learned to separate people from their actions.  The way that people may behave does not equal who they are inside. Someone with a “weird” mannerism may be a genius, I just can’t see it right away.  I’ve learned to be accepting.

I’ve also gained a wonderful community of other “autism parents”, and formed so many friendships that I might otherwise not have had.  And how can I forget the “perks” of the special functions for special needs families? I’ve come to appreciate so much the community in which I live and what it means to be included, and to include others.

The chorus went on to say that change could happen “step by step, bit by bit.”  That’s exactly how my son’s progress has gone.  Every little accomplishment– from saying his first sentence to taking a spelling test to saying thank you– is celebrated.

And now he’s going into middle school.  I am frightened.  As I’ve written before, he will not be attending middle school with his elementary friends.  However, I know that we can get through the challenges step by step, bit by bit.

I hope and pray that others will come along who will make a positive difference in his life for the better, as his classmates and teachers have done.  In fact, I’m counting on it, for it takes a village.  We may just have to look around harder.


Reposted from Autism from the Lighter Side, Celebrating Differences with Humor and Hope