Autism: comparison is the thief of joy

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Back to school is a bittersweet time for us. It’s another reminder that the gap between Charlie and his peers is getting bigger and more obvious as the years go on. We were hoping he’d have made enough progress by now that school would be a preferred option over full time one-on-one ABA therapy but we’re not there yet. As I scroll down my Facebook feed and see Charlie’s little friends proudly holding their “first day of kindergarten” signs, I can’t help but wonder if one day soon I’ll be the one taking that picture too.

Autism: comparison is the thief of joy

Raising a severely autistic child is a balancing act. There isn’t really a name to describe the mix of frustration, joy, and loneliness. Nuanced emotions are sometimes difficult to express with words. Personally I like photography to portray complicated feelings that words aren’t easy to convey.

When I look at photos of Charlie, I see the same expression in his eyes. I see wonder. Perhaps it’s just taking him a little longer than other people to process his world. A few years longer. I keep optimistically reminding myself that it’s okay if Charlie’s milestones are different than his peers’; perhaps we’re just working on a different timeline.

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