This may sound odd, but sometimes I feel sorry for parents of neurotypical children. (Well, other times I hate their guts, but that is a character flaw that I am working on ;) Let me explain...
When a doctor looks into your eyes and tells you all bets are off for your child... life as you planned it is over... it has a way of rearranging your priorities a little.
In an instant, everything you envisioned parenting to be is thrown on the floor like a jigsaw puzzle. (Notice, I didn't say "shattered". I refuse to say "shattered". It wasn't shattered... just rearranged). Play dates, Little League, kindergarten, prom, girlfriends, weddings, career ... none of it is a given for your child any more.
Sure, you mourn the demise of your "typical" life. You cry (a lot). You curse God (guilty). But then something happens as you follow this new path. You start to appreciate the tiny victories in your child's life... victories that neurotypical parents very often take for granted, barely notice and certainly don't rejoice in like we do.
His first eye contact with you, the first time he seeks you out for a hug, the first time he shows genuine excitement for an upcoming holiday, the first time he shows disappointment when the Christmas decorations start to come down, the first time he tells you a joke, the first time he shows interest in playing with his sister...
I will never forget July 4th, 2009 at 9:25 P.M. We were driving by the beach with my parents. My son screamed from the back seat and pointed out his window, "Look! Fireworks!" My wife broke down in tears. I stopped cursing God and began thanking Him.
Jerry recently began writing about his family's experiences with Autism in his personal blog (Bacon and Juice Boxes: Our Life With Autism). You can follow him on Twitter @jturning and on Facebook (www.facebook.com/baconandjuiceboxes).