There are many challenges that come with managing a chronic condition like Autism.  The great news is that changing focus could set you off on a whole other meaningful life purpose.

Diagnosis affects the family as a whole but also impacts each family member as individuals.  Depending on the character of each person and the attitude of family the diagnosis has the potential to change individuals and families in many positive ways. 

Parents may use the challenge of recovering or healing their child as a catalyst to overcome a long- standing issue or fear. For example, a person with a social phobia might be so motivated by the love of their child and the desire to alleviate the stress of living with certain challenges, that the anxiety they may feel talking to other parents is out weighed by the sense of urgency to gain information from other parents.  Therefore, they do what they have to do and improve their social phobia at the same time! What a gift!

Parents are also able to develop a sense of expertise in whatever condition their child has.

There are two paths to becoming an expert on any given topic.   The first is through life experience.  The second is studying it.

The rigorous training that parents go through in living with Autism, Epilepsy, Cancer or any other special circumstances day to day gives them credibility as experts to share their knowledge with others. They can become valuable parts of committees, author books or use their knowledge to help others that have less experience in the matter.

Bearing witness to your loved one can strengthen a caregiver’s belief in The F in BUFFERS “Find something bigger than yourself ”.  Watching your child persevere and finally master a task that challenged them for months is nothing short of a miracle. Witnessing these types of miracles time and time again creates a sense of gratitude and faith that would not have come otherwise.  These types of miracles remind us all that life is not all about us that we are part of a larger cosmic experience. At the same time we can remember that our efforts are important because we are part of making miracles happen!

Having a special needs child creates a greater sense of awareness for parents and families.  If both parent and grandparent are advocating for the same cause it can strengthen the bond among the family and give them an opportunity to spend more quality time together.   It also creates a sense of what is important in life. A chronic diagnosis can end long-standing differences among family members and be the pathway to forgiveness. 

Chronic conditions can benefit siblings as well. It teaches them responsibility, empathy and tolerance for others.  It also models a true definition of unconditional love.  My child with ASD loves her sister more than anyone on the planet. She hugs her kisses her and is the first to comfort her when she cries. My child with ASD lets her sister take things from her and never ever holds a grudge!  I don’t find it ironic that my daughter that has a diagnosis of Autism is the one to display the truest sense of unconditional love that I have ever seen! I have never experienced this level of unconditional love from a person who is neurotypical, my daughter with ASD seems to be above anything petty!  She is the one teaching ME something! I just have to be open to learn the lesson.

The community can be served by the challenges of a chronic condition because it provides the seeds of necessity to create businesses, goods and services to be sold that benefit us all.

For example, ScentsAbility, a candle making company in Florida was created by the parents of a special needs individual named Jessica to give her and others like her suitable jobs and make them productive members of society. All  of the candles are made by the special hands of individuals who may have a diagnosis but this diagnosis does not define them!  Autism Speaks, the leading organization for Autism in the country was started by Bob and Suzanne Wright grandparents of a child with Autism. Autism Speaks has become a huge asset to the community at large. It has been the vehicle to help many families that are looking for assistance regarding Autism but also had employed many families along the way as well.  Many other businesses like Autism File magazine, which was founded by Polly Tommey the parent of a child with Autism has helped many voices in the Autism community be heard.   Lynette Louise, the mother of multiple special needs kids has created a business sharing what she has learned to help others and authored a book called Miracles are Made A Real Life Guide to Autism. Connie Hammer a mother of a child with special needs and a social worker has created a business helping parents in her business The Progressive Parent.  These businesses have been created from a special needs situation but now serve and aide an entire community of people.

In summary, there are many ways to approach living with a chronic condition.  One can choose to see the up hill climb and focus on the fatigue or one can notice that they are getting stronger from the climb and springboard that strength into opportunity.  We all get to decide!

 


Comments

Lisa Laudando
10/24/2012 8:02pm

I happen to know Jessica and her parents and they are truly remarkable people. They are ABLE and I am so proud that they call me a friend!!

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08/27/2014 12:22pm

our progress in opening

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03/15/2016 6:17am

Family support is very important.

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05/30/2016 3:15am

We can get a lot of opportunities into our communities because I know it required a little change in mind set. They just required a change in their mind set and then they will become a great personality in the community.

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01/15/2017 5:07am

You are such a positive person! You are very inspiring for me. I love it.

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