Welcome to Autism Fundraising Guide. I focus on therapies, treatment, advice, trends and personal anecdotes based upon my experience as a parent of a sixteen year old with Autism Spectrum Disorder. I have seen this disorder go from relatively obscure when my child was diagnosed thirteen years ago, to a very maintream epidemic today.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Children With Autism: Birthdays

I saw a post by another parent on a message board and it began this way "Today is my autistic son's birthday and I am sad..." I recalled all the many years past that I felt exactly the same way. This was a sentiment that it was impossible for many people to understand, but I bet other parents of children with autism do. The reason for the sadness is certainly not that you regret the day they were born! Parents of children with autism love them with one of the strongest, fiercest loves ever seen on this planet. The reason for the sadness is because a birthday represents a significant milestone- a date of importance that cannot be ignored.

Every year, at various times but certainly at birthdays, parents of children with autism face the indisputable fact that although their child might be twelve or thirteen chronologically, they are far younger than that developmentally. This creates an understandable pain and anguish in the parent. This highlighting of the differences inherent in the disorder makes it difficult for many parents to "celebrate" a "happy birthday." It takes time, and above all a very difficult spiritual concept called "acceptance," to actually have fun on the birthday of a child with a significant delay.

Today, my son's birthdays are a blast. I suppose this testifies to how far we have both come (more me than him.) He is fifteen now and doing much better than before but yes, he is still significantly delayed in certain areas, particularly speech. Interestingly though, I rarely think about the delay anymore. He is very happy and he is doing very well. His birthdays are joyful now- I guess celebrations of the absolute war I feel we have been through.

To those parents who are sad on their developmentally delayed child's birthday, to you I say I understand. I have been there. One day in the future you will be happy on his birthday, I promise it.

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