Challenges and Gratitude: Parents of Children with Autism Share Holiday Stories


Challenges and Gratitude: Parents of Children with Autism Share Holiday Stories

As many parents of children on the Autism Spectrum understand, not every child loves Santa, flashing lights, and the massive influx of aunts, uncles, and cousins that the holidays bring. In fact, not every child can say, “Thank you for the presents” or “I love you.”

And for the moms and dads of children who will struggle with the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, who dream of getting a photo with Santa, and who are fighting crowds to find this year’s popular holiday toy – here’s your quiet moment of gratitude and inspiration. We asked parents of children who have autism or other special needs to share what they are most grateful for this year.

The answers are inspiring and humbling – and good reminders of what we should really focus on this holiday.

Comfees - Parents of Children with Autism Share Holiday Stories

Peaceful Nights by the Christmas Tree

Jude shares, “Our autistic son has never been able to handle Christmas; from attempted visits to Santa, to people expecting him to open gifts, to all the fuss and company. What I am thankful for is how much he loves the Christmas tree. He will sit, smiling, under our lighted tree and look at the decorations. He stays right there for a long while, calm and content.”

Non-Verbal Child Saying “I Love You” for the First Time

Marcus says, “Our 6 year old was just diagnosed with autism and he’s not been verbal for very long. The first memory I have of him speaking out of the blue was him turning to me while we were on the couch, looking me in the eyes and saying, ‘I love you so much momma.’ Then he just turned around and went back to watching his show. I was in such shock and awe I just cried and hugged him until he pushed me off. He is our amazing and special little boy and his big brother and little brother can’t get enough of him.”

Hearing Her Son’s Voice for the First Time

Jessi shares her story, saying, “I am so thankful that my formerly non-verbal 5-year-old son on the spectrum has started to say words, we weren’t sure if it would ever happen, but it’s been amazing to finally hear his voice!”

And Other Non-Verbal Success Stories

Meghan recalls, “My favorite memory would be my son's first big feat. He is non-verbal (for the most part) and the day he first said a word was unforgettable. My husband, older son and I were lying in bed watching a movie and my little one came stomping into the bedroom abruptly yelling, ‘YEAH! YEAH! YEAH!’ We were so taken aback. I will always remember the look on his face. The biggest grin because he had done it. He finally did it. Basic communication is something we take for granted. I am thankful for his will to try, try and try again. My Sterling.”

Jude adds, “I am thankful to my non-verbal 21-year-old son for showing me how to love him unconditionally.” Claudette shares, “We are very thankful that God blessed us with twin boys. Allowed us to be their parents and adopt them along with their other four siblings. We have two autistic children: one that is non-verbal and the other one who talks. We are a very blessed family.”

Simple Memories: Hot Cocoa and Snowy Days

Sonja shares, “I'm thankful for my kids who have the innocence of youth. They're still excited about snow and falling leaves and cups of hot cocoa. Whether they get 2 gifts or 20, they love the season and everything that comes along with it. It helps me look past the ‘adult side’ of things, and remember how much I used to love it all.”

Teachers and Support Systems

Monique says, “I'm thankful for my son's teachers, my family and friends. For all the support and love that everyone shows. For all the tips and suggestions when we are having a hard time. For all the new things we learn together. I'm thankful for my son teaching me a new way to communicate and that life is what you make it. And I am also thankful for companies like this one for making it a little easier, my life could always use that. Thank you.”

Megan adds, “I’m thankful for a supportive family and amazing team of educators for our special needs child. Without their support we’d feel so lost and alone. I’m beyond grateful for fellow parents with special needs children who have become sounding boards and support. And I can’t forget to say I am thankful for our nanny. She has a good heart and treats our children with respect and love. We are on the same page and it calms my heart knowing she’s caring for them when we are at work.”

A Grandmother’s Love

Cindy, “I am a grandmother of a granddaughter who has special needs. I am grateful for this little young lady who brings so much sunshine into our family`s life. Her smile, her sunshiny personality and the joy that she brings into any room she enters. She is 5. Thank you for letting me share.”

Santa’s Sleigh Project

Jenny, “I am thankful for being blessed with my special needs daughter. I am also thankful for Santa’s Sleigh Project who has decided to come meet her, as she is very afraid of Santa and has never met him. She is 7 now and I hope this goes well!”

Thankful for Life Itself

Elizabeth shares, “I'm thankful that my daughter made it through three majors surgeries this year.”
Ella adds, “I'm thankful that with all the love and prayers, my son has lived 16 years beyond what the doctors thought. He is my blessing!”

Grateful to Simply Be a Mother to a Wonderful Child

Jessica says, “I am so grateful for my wonderful, beautiful boy and all of the progress he has made in the last 8 months. I am grateful for his beautiful spirit, and eagerness to learn. Most of all I am grateful to be his mother.” Kalena adds, “I am grateful for my little boy's ability to just tell when someone is hurting. Where the rest of us might look at them with a judgmental glare, disapproving, he sees their hurting heart, runs to them and hugs them. Sometimes it's been years since anyone has done so, and they might break down. He just knows, even when they might not want to admit it to themselves, that they are desperately in need of some indication that somebody out there still cares. He gives his love freely to those who need it, regardless of who they are. I wish I could be like that.”

A Touch of Humor

Katie laughs, “I have so many things to be thankful for, I could write a heartfelt novel. I'll go with something light and humorous instead. I am thankful for my son Baine who makes the holidays so incredibly easy. He has autism, SPD, a learning impairment, and is non-verbal. He absolutely dislikes toys that make sounds. And come on -- as a parent, you know the less of those around the house the better!”

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