Five Things I’ve Learned as Mom of an Autistic Child

One of the most loving and amazing things we can do for our children is to let them be who they are.

When my son, Gabe who just turned 17 recently, was diagnosed with autism and ADD/ADHD at age 2, we were told to put him on all kinds of medications and therapies and that he would probably never talk or read or write.

Well, being the stubborn woman I am, the one who believes in making her own rules, I decided I wasn’t playing their games. I decided I was THE best authority on my son and I set out to do whatever I could to prove them wrong.

And in the past 15 years, here’s what I’ve come to know. . .

1.) Labels do more harm than good. Too often, we let labels define what we’re capable of. We let labels define what we think and what we feel and what we believe. We let labels define truth. . . when most of the time, a label is merely someone’s perception of what COULD be the truth.

We let labels put us in boxes and spend our whole lives feeling trapped and inadequate and stifled which causes us to lash out. And the biggest injustice is that we pass this on to our children. We have been taught to never question things. To accept things for what they appear to be on the outside. We accept perceptions based on experiences that have nothing to do with us at all.

2.) Not all things are problems that need to be fixed. If something isn’t “normal” or very well understood or goes against convention, we’ve been taught to dismiss it as wrong or a problem that needs correction. And most of the time, they are neither. Most of the time, it’s our perception that needs correction.

3.) There’s nothing wrong with us. We are all whole and complete and perfect just as we are. We each have different feelings and ideas and thoughts. We each have different lessons to learn on this earthly plane. Different ways of experiencing things. Different wants and needs and desires. And at our core – the Soul of who we are – we do not need fixing. We are not broken. We are unique and special and brilliant.

And instead of focusing on our differences, how about we focus on our gifts and talents and abilities? Instead of believing we’re not good at speaking or reading or writing or math, what if we recognize we’re brilliant at whatever makes us unique? Whatever makes us who we are?

4.) We are all truly equal. And our differences are our greatest assets. Instead of allowing them to separate us, we need to recognize that those things have nothing to do with equality. Our differences were meant to draw us together not separate us.

And everyone – regardless of gender, age, religion, race, sexual orientation, height, weight or anything else – EVERYONE deserves to be treated equally. It does not matter one bit whether we agree with their lifestyle or the way they dress or what color their hair is.

We are equal because we are HUMAN. [tweetthis hidden_hashtags=”#loveistheanswer #onegeneration”]We are equal because we are HUMAN.[/tweetthis]

We are equal because we are living, breathing BEINGS.

5.) Love is always the answer. <3 ‘Nuff said.

And when we give people the freedom to be who they are, when we accept them and love them, when we allow them to shine, there is never any question. There is no need for labels. No need for fears. No need for lashing out.

When we can see beyond our differences, this world will know peace.

Love + Magic,


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  1. Annie,
    Well said!! I could not agree more with these 5 items and for me the greatest edict I learned way back was “Believe nothing, verify everything ” and this to me meant that I not take anything for granted but to discover and understand it from my own experience. i knew way back when that what I saw , felt and believed was not exactly what I was being taught.
    thank you again for your wisdom.

    1. Thanks, Molly!

      That’s been one of my internal barometers for a long time too – “Believe nothing, verify everything.” Glad you enjoyed the post! 🙂


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