Just a little over two years ago my son befriended a boy around his age who was diagnosed with ADHD but also with autism. I'm guessing the autism was slight, but it had him where he seemed always a little behind in maturity compared to the other boys. Noah was a delight to have around. And I quickly learned how to deal with his conditions and how to help him respond to our lifestyle at our home. Sadly, he no longer comes around and we miss him at times, but that year and a half made a difference in not only my life, but that of my son's.
About five years ago I started attending my husband's church. We were engaged at the time. Although the Pentecostal church was quite different than what I was used to, I became enraptured over a little girl who had autism. Sometimes I felt as though she was misunderstood, but for some reason my son and I developed a small rapport with her. She loved colors and I tried to encourage her to communicate through her coloring. For a while she did and began to hang around me. I loved her and thought she was so precious. Sadly, once we left the church, I never saw her again.
Six years ago I met fellow author D'Ann Renner. She has a son with autism. This was my first time ever seeing a child with this condition. At first I didn't understand it or knew what to make of it, but with D'Ann's help her son, Luke, and I could carry on a limited conversation. I even received a hug from him.
It takes courage and strength to raise a child with autism. This isn't some mental illness or something to despise or consider a sad life happening. No. This is an opportunity for others. Each person I met saw life in a different way, an innocent way. Watching through their eyes opened mine. Because of their lack of communication skill, which varies greatly, it is difficult to raise these children at times. To me though, the women and men who have autistic children have a hidden blessing. They see more to the life God wants us to lead than any other person ever could.
To celebrate April Autism Awareness Month, I would like to share with you the story D'Ann wrote; a story inspired by her son, Luke. Follow the link at the end to read more about D'Ann Renner on Rebel Book Reviews. Click on the title if you would like the option to purchase a copy of the book.
"In her own unique way of writing, D'Ann brought forth a truly wonderful tale. From the first page I was captured and pulled into a story that gave me a heart-rendering and intimate look inside life with a special needs child. To make it even more potent, D'Ann Renner shows, not just tells about, life with an adopted special needs child. From laughter to tears and back again, this book is more than just a story...it's a look into true family love.
The title, to me, is most profound. Life with a special needs can be hard, at most times frustrating. It can feel as though you are living in the shadow of the world, but it doesn't necessarily have to be that way. Her portrait of the heartache, the joy, and the wonder of life is an eyeopener to a world most cannot even imagine, and it is a definite must read."