Seeing the Joys Behind the Heartache of the Diagnosis

conrad2There are many days where raising two boys on the spectrum is challenging. I have days where I hold back the tears every single minute of the day. I still have the days where I am just so angry that my children have so many challenges. I still have my bad days six years into our journey, and I probably always will. I am sure it is just part of being a special needs parent.

There are many days I just want to get inside the body of my son with severe autism and know for myself what he feels. I watch my son and how he has to move constantly. I watch him get frustrated with not being able to communicate to me.  I see his challenges daily. I watch my other child have difficulty making friends. I see them both struggle with their anxiety, and it is just gut-wrenching as a parent to watch.

Nonetheless, through the heartache of watching autism’s daily challenges and living these challenges with them, I see the beauty right before my eyes every day. I would do anything–as most parents would–to turn their challenges into strengths. We continue to work on their challenges daily, and my hope is that they’ll learn to overcome their challenges through their therapies. However, the beauty that this journey has taught me far exceeds our struggles.

When I get to hear my son with severe autism laugh and giggle, my heart explodes with joy. His giggle is so cute. I long to hear it daily, but don’t. I wish he could look me in my eye every day, but those moments are so few and far between. However, when they happen, there are just no words for the joy inside that moment.

There is nothing like the triumph I feel when I see the happiness in one son’s face when he makes a friend. His face just radiates with so much joy that it makes all the heartache before that moment go away.

In the beginning of our autism journey, I admit that there wasn’t much joy to be found. It was hard dealing with the new diagnosis and new life that was handed to us. My days and nights were mostly full of wild, out-of-control children who did nothing but have tantrums and meltdowns. Sleep simply didn’t happen in our house. Life was hard and is still hard. However, through the past few years, we have made some progress and the joyful moments behind all the hard ones are really starting to shine through.

It would be very simple to not see the beauty in each day. It is very easy to get locked up in challenges and to simply focus on them alone. However, as we grow in our journey with autism, we are seeing the small things in life and rejoicing with each tiny step that we make.

In any life comes challenges, but with those challenges come beauty. It is hard to see at first, but it is there.  I challenge you to see the joy in your day no matter how hard it is. I know it is hard, but once you do, it can be amazing.


Angela Conrad

Angela Conrad is a freelance writer, mom to two boys on the autism spectrum, determined autism advocate, and fun-loving person. When she is not doing her advocacy work, she can be found managing her son’s therapy schedules and all the other crazy things that life brings. She enjoys reading, exercising and helping others.

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