“Comparison is the source of all suffering” is a quote that as an autism parent, I need to be reminded of often.
I often find myself measuring my child’s progress against other children. This goes for comparing to not only typical children but those on the spectrum as well.
Recently I took my son off the diploma track at school, deciding to focus on vocational training instead. This required me letting go of some of my expectations and coming to terms with the fact that he may not ever attend college. This was a bitter pill to swallow, and it brought back memories of the day he was diagnosed with autism. I know that coming to terms with where he is developmentally is something I need to accept, but that is easier said than done.
In this day of social media, where we are inundated with accomplishments and achievements of family and friends’ children, it’s hard not to compare our own child’s progress. It seemed as if all I was reading on Facebook after deciding to take him off the diploma track were posts about my friend’s children excelling at academics and heading off to college. I was in the midst of my own pity party when the universe gave me a reality check. A friend’s son had a severe seizure disorder and had been suffering multiple seizures which had resulted in severe regressions and the need for him to wear a protective helmet at all times. All my friend could hope and pray for was a seizure-free day. She would have gladly traded places with me, I am sure. Sometimes we just need some perspective taking on our lives. I have my own version of the serenity prayer, and it’s something I need to read every day and practice.
The EmPOWERment Prayer
God grant me the wisdom to see
disability as an opportunity;
the courage to love my child unconditionally;
and the faith to live a life of purpose.
The reality is that all children develop differently; those with autism are no exception. Your child has their own unique gifts and abilities. There will always be a child who is progressing at a faster rate than yours, just as there will always be a child who is not developing skills as quickly as yours. We can’t compare; we just have to run our own race.