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    Posted April 18, 2012 by
    Vero Beach, Florida

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    A Mother's Prayer for Autistic Son - Hope for Future

    Every night I push the hair off my son's brow. I plant a gentle kiss. Then I say a simple prayer. It goes like this:

    "Dear Lord; Bless this child. Give him the faculties to be independent, to live on his own, to know right from wrong and to recognize friend from foe. Help me to assist him to find a vocation, to support him when I am gone, and to provide him the skills to help him find friends and love."

    To most it seems like a fairly simple prayer. To me it is everything.

    The reality is that these are the "easy years." Our son is 9 and can remain in school until he is 22 years old. I guess this should be a comfort to me and my husband. However it is not. All I hear is the ticking of the clock. It's a race against time to help prepare him for when school ends.

    That ticking never stops and my mind is seldom quiet.

    I work out daily, swimming, running or biking. Some may call may call me a triathlete. The truth is I am a warrior — a mother who is on a constant path to find a solution.

    I do work out for the benefits of fitness. However, it is a means of quieting my mind. You see, my head is always stressed and focused on the future of our child. The mental loop is similar to my nightly prayer, but with additional angst: "What will happen when I am gone? Will he be able to hold a job? Will he have friends? Who will love him besides us? Will he be able to stay out of jail due to a lack of skills or understanding?

    It's the loop in my head that never ends.

    This is not a plea for pity. I made a choice early on in my difficult pregnancy and I would never reverse that decision.

    You see, our son was an answer to a prayer. Despite some hard and often gritty challenges, we have been blessed by this challenge. That is not to say the road has not been bumpy or that we have not suffered economic challenges trying to provide the best therapy and care. It is simply to say that we chose love. That means that no matter what you dig in, you set a course for a determined conclusion. What is the outcome? That is part of the journey.

    April is Autism Awareness Month. There will be many local and national events to raise awareness and funding for family services and research.

    My prayer is that everyone will take a few moments or even a day to learn more about Autism Spectrum Disorders. Caring creates sharing and a community of acceptance.

    Here is my list of 10 things I want you to know about Autism Spectrum Disorders:

    1. There is no cure: Autism is not a disease. It is a disorder of neural development characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior.

    2. There is no magic pill or miracle solution to resolving ASD.

    3. The road to recovery is long and bumpy.

    4. The most proven methods of overcoming ASD challenges are early intervention and behavior therapy.

    5. The reality is that a child's treatment takes a lot of work — buckle up butter cup!

    6. Insurance is a joke. ASD parents will spend every extra dollar to find a way out.

    7. Not everyone will accept or understand children with autism. The reality is that those who don't are people who feel uncomfortable about their own shortcomings.

    8. For every jerk there are 10 kind people to support and understand children and adults of autism.

    9. A child's school team is really on a parent's side. The key is building a bridge of communication between both parties.

    10. Autism means my child's mind is wired differently. They see and perceive things in a nonabstract manner. They are like a square peg that is being forced into a round hole (in our society).

    The most important part of my prayer is the end:

    "There is no guarantee or insurance policy. Lord give me hope."

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