The was a National Autism Academy FaceBook post from me on December 19th: I recently visited a school that only serves children on the autism spectrum. The woman who gave me the tour confirmed what I have seen in my own son so often. Our kids, especially if they are high functioning and are trying to survive in the mainstream, get very beat up. To say that they are left handed individuals in a right-handed world is mild comparison. The difficulties our loved ones with autism face in their minds and in their lives, are exponentially more painful than the struggles that overwhelm the rest of us daily.

So, this Christmas I am giving my son the gift of acceptance. The powerful gift of loving him exactly the way he is today, autistic tendencies and all. A gift of encouraging him without trying to change him, “therapize” him into conformity, or not to pressure him to improve his life. A gift that says “you are ok, I love you as you are, and we are in this together.” The gift of appreciating his talents and helping him find ways to experience success, even if that success doesn’t look like what we expect culturally. The gift of encouraging him, and helping him find ways to love and appreciate himself. My son was created with a very special perspective on the world, and my gift to him this holiday season is to honor and celebrate that perspective.