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“At First, Autism Was a Robber. Then It Became a Giver.”

Courtesy of Amanda Gehman

Years before I became a mother, autism was simply a strange mysterious mental disorder. No reason to worry or become involved. 

Then I had Noah. Autism had a face for the first time. It was a robber. It robbed my peace, my son’s future, and my parental pride. 

As the years went on, autism changed from being a robber into being a giver.  Autism gave me the gift of appreciation of my son and the ability to see what’s most important. Every little word or minor interaction is a big thing for our family. Every time Noah looks at me and smiles, or says “Mommy” or “Daddy,” is a gift. I remember the first time we had a real conversation: I said, “Noah, we are going to church.” He replied, “I want to go to beach.” We all celebrate with Noah when he has a breakthrough. His sisters have become his teachers; it’s amazing to see how they encourage and praise him.    

In our family, autism affects almost all that we do. Can we take Noah here? Will people understand? Will he have a meltdown? Simple living is not an option. We have therapies and IEP meetings to attend. At times I feel cheated when I look at “normal families” (if there is such a thing). But I love this life. I love him—all of him. 

By Amanda Gehman, mom of Catherine, 7, Noah, 6, and Kiera, 4

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